JUST when shopping malls, cafes and restaurants in the city wind down for the night, the Danau Kota Uptown night bazaar in Setapak will come alive.
It is also the time for residents and stakeholders in the area to cringe when the music at the bazaar starts.
They complained that the bazaar has negatively impacted the neighbourhood.
Problems such as lack of parking space, noise pollution and traffic congestion are rampant, and residents say it has disrupted the businesses of other shops in the vicinity as well.
Considered one of the main attractions for late night shoppers, the bazaar, located near the Danau Kota Hawker Centre and other commercial properties, had been operating since 2006 from Wednesday to Sunday, between 10pm and 3am.
A recent check at the bazaar showed that the stalls sold everything from clothes, car accessories, watches, paintings, cosmetics and shoes, perfumes to electronic gadgets.
There were also food stalls selling everything from pastries and desserts to meals cooked on the spot.
The bazaar is made up of traders from Setapak/Genting Kelang Traders Association (333 lots), Koperasi Bela Rakyat (30 lots) and Three S Services Sdn Bhd (180 lots), totalling 543 traders.
At wits’ end
Taman Setapak Residents Association president Achinda Singh said he had noticed that stalls were now spilling onto the streets while the traders’ vans monopolise parking spots the whole day.
“There are dilapidated vehicles parked overnight and are taking up many parking spaces.
“It is quite clear that they belong to the traders as you can see bundles of goods in them,” he said.
Resident S. Jayalaxmi, 35, said traffic in and out of the area on bazaar nights were giving them a headache.
“The lines of cars parked by the roadside is a mess.
“As it is, the residential roads have only two lanes and the space is quickly taken up by visitors.
“They even double-park in some areas, causing cars to squeeze through tight spots,” she said, adding that the situation worsened on weekends and during school holidays.
“Although there are Rela volunteers helping to control traffic, there have been times when shoppers parked in front of our homes,” she said.
Another resident, identified only as Haikal, whose house is in front of the bazaar, said the noise was a big issue.
“Some of the traders start blasting loud music and this can go on until 2am.
“My two school-going children are often woken from their sleep because of it.
“Although I have gone to speak to the traders on several occasions, they ignore my requests to turn down the music.
“How can they be so inconsiderate,” lamented the 56-year-old man.
Several others questioned the rationale of having the bazaar in a residential area.
“This is one of the worst place to have a bazaar like this,” said resident Jennifer Khoo, 26.
“Jalan Genting Kelang, one of the entrance into Danau Kota is often jammed.
“Now, not only do we have to put up with that, we also have to deal with the spillover traffic from the bazaar.
“How can Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) have approved this in the first place,” she added.
Also affected are the shoplot owners whose businesses front the bazaar.
A car workshop operator, who only wanted to be identified as Tan, said many of the businesses were forced to close shop early.
“Although, the bazaar is only supposed to start at 10pm, the traders start coming in by 5pm.
“If we do not remove our customers’ vehicles, they are unable to exit the area.
“This is also affecting my business as some of my customers can only drop off their vehicles for repairs after work.
“But I have to turn them away as I have to close my shop before the traders set up their stalls,” Tan said.
Wangsa Maju MCA chairman Datuk Yew Teong Look said DBKL had identified a new spot for the traders across the main road.
“In 2011, there was a suggestion that the bazaar be moved to an empty land near the Road Transport Department (JPJ) along Jalan Genting Kelang.
“However, since then, there has been little to no progress in relocating the traders there.
“The area would be more suitable as there are no residential homes there.
“It can also accommodate the increased number of traders and visitors,” he said.
Yew, who is also the former Wangsa Maju MP, added that DBKL should take several actions as short-term measure.
“DBKL needs to monitor and clear the area of any illegal traders.
“With this many stalls, there should be strict enforcement of regulations, especially the operating hours,” he said.
He added it was unfair for residents to have to put up with the numerous problems stemming from the bazaar.
DBKL advisory board member Ng How Doo said the local authority would conduct a tender exercise to build a facility for the bazaar soon.
“A contractor should be appointed by the end of June.
“It will take up to two years before the traders can be relocated,” he said.