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Monday June 20, 2011

New look for Medan Mara

TRADERS in the Medan Mara building in Jalan Raja Laut are unhappy with the management for keeping them in the dark about plans to upgrade the building.

They claim that the management Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) is planning to refurbish the building and bring in new traders.

Their fears were confirmed when about 100 traders received notices on June 8 giving them three months to move out.

Beautiful facade: Medan Mara was established in the 1970s to promote Malay entrepreneurship.

A trader said most of the shop operators who received the notices were pioneers who had been there since the 1980s.

“We have been here for so long and it is not right for the management to suddenly kick us out,’’ she said.

According to the trader, Mara which manages the place, did not inform the traders of its decision.

“I was shocked to receive the notice last week and was not able to concentrate on work since then as I am worried about my future and livelihood,’’ she said.

Another trader said he heard talk that Mara wanted to upgrade the place and inject some life into the dying mall.

Swanky: The building’s food court was given a RM200,000 makeover recently.

“I heard that they wanted to raise the rent and to make the place look more presentable,’’ she said.

A trader, who specialises in sewing baju kurung and kebaya, said she was disappointed with the way Mara was going about the matter.

“They should communicate to us about their plans. We are happy that they want to modernise the place, I think it is a good idea and is also about time.

“But do not leave us out; offer us the opportunity to grow with the modernisation,’’ he said.

“All these years Mara has done nothing to promote the place. Now they want to do upgrade the building and want to kick us out,’’ he said.

Another trader, who wished to be known only as Nani, said the management insisted that they open on weekends when no one was working.

“It makes no sense for us to open our shops and turn on the lights on the first floor, while the lobby is in darkness.

“No one will come into the building when the lights are turned off at the entrance,’’ she said.

Most of the traders interviewed said they did not mind paying extra and were even willing to modernise their shops as they preferred to continue operating at the place since they already had their regulars.

Federal Territory Malay Hawkers and Small Traders Association president Datuk Bahrim A. Razak said it was not right for Mara to keep the traders in the dark about their redevelopment plans.

“Some of the traders have nowhere to go as they have been here for a long time,’’ he said, adding that it would be difficult for them to start afresh elsewhere.

“There are traders who have spent thousands of ringgit on renovations. Moreover, Mara should keep the communication channels open with the traders.

“Mara should come up with an in-house circular informing the tenants of their promotions and happenings at the mall regularly and Mara’s Entrepreneur Department should monitor the situation and talk to tenants about their concerns,’’ Bahrim said.

He said the traders were setting up an action council to address their problems and were preparing a memorandum to be submitted to Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin as well as Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

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