IT is simple economics that wherever there is demand, there will be supply and such is the case in front of the Westlake Homes Student Accommodation.
Attracted by the high number of students staying at the student accommodation in Kampar, mobile food traders have turned the pedestrian pathway into some sort of a hawkers’ street.
No less than 20 stalls are stationed there on a daily basis, selling vegetarian food, economy rice, fried noodles, roast chicken and roast pork, banana fritters and other fried kuih.
The sight of the stalls is unsightly, resembling that of a night market and marring the beauty of a nearby lake overlooking the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) Perak campus.
Former student Loke W.J. said the row of stalls posed a safety hazard as it blocked motorists’
view when exiting Westlake Homes.
“Road users cannot see cars and motorcycles coming from both ends because of the stalls.
“Cyclists, most of whom are Utar students, are also in danger because instead of cycling on the cycling path, they now have to cycle on the road,” he said.
Shop assistant Norsyahira Yaakub said it was most unhygienic to sell food there without any water source coupled with the dust and smog from passing vehicles.
“I really feel there should be a proper place for them to conduct their business,” said the 22-year-old.
Agreeing with Norsyahira, Utar student Isabella Teh, 20, said she had bought food from the stalls only a few times.
“But even then, it was because I was hungry and could not go out to buy food,” she said.
Fellow student Goh Jing Fung, 21, said many bought food from the stalls for the sake of convenience.
“I should think those who patronise the stalls do not have their own mode of transport,” he added.
According to coffeeshop owner Law Joo Loong, the stalls had started popping up one by one, three years ago.
“Safe to say, it has affected my business and other eateries in the vicinity,” said Law whose establishment is located nearby Utar.
“I even know of people coming all the way from Ipoh to set up stall there because it is really good business as no rental or utility and licensing fees are required,” he added.
Another coffeeshop owner Tan Chuen Yann, claimed that numerous complaints lodged with the Kampar district council had fallen on deaf ears.
“They are there from morning till evening and yet the council does nothing to chase them away.
“I have personally complained to the council but things are still the same,” Tan added.
When contacted, council president Khairul Amir Mohamad Zubir said a decision was recently made to revoke the temporary licences issued to the traders.
“We will be issuing them notices to stop trading in the area.
“However, we will only be sending out the notices in two to three months so as to give them enough time to find alternative places to conduct their business,” he said.
Khairul Amir added that the decision comes after the views of nearby residents as well as the Utar management had been sought and taken into consideration.
“The council does agree that it is somewhat inappropriate to have hawker stalls along the road, not when it leads to the entrance of a university,” he said.