Hawkers may operate at temporary site nearby

In the news: Flashback of the StarMetro report on the makeover for New World Park.

HAWKERS in the New World Park food court will be relocated to a new site pending the redevelopment of the 2ha land in Jalan Burmah, Penang.

PPB Group Berhad property division chief operating officer Chew Hwei Yeow said they had identified a plot of land about 14,000sq ft, which is now a car park, just opposite the food court across Swatow Lane.

“We are now looking at the relocation although the project has not been finalised.

“We need to ensure the interests of the hawkers are being looked after as this is also the main concern of the state government,” he told press conference at the food court yesterday.

Chew said the land was big enough to relocate all the 28 hawkers during the construction period.

“We are in the midst of negotiating with the landowner to use the land. Once the redevelopment is complete, we will then bring the hawkers back to the present site.

“Our new project offers a bigger and more comfortable environment for the hawkers and customers,” he said.

Chew said the company informed the state on its proposal to carry out a mixed development project some months ago.

“We’ve revealed our plan to some of the hawkers, and most of them are quite receptive.”

Besides being known for its famous local food, he said the company was also aware of the sentimental value of the place to the locals.

“Therefore, we can’t simply demolish everything. We hope to maintain the last wall with the word ‘New World Park’ on it.

“We will also set up a display room in the future to exhibit the history of New World Park,” he said.

Chew stressed that the relocation date was still pending as application to the local councils needed to be done beforehand.

Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow welcomed the reassurance by the developer to incorporate the food court into their new project.

“I hope they will continue to engage the hawkers and furnish them with the correct information about the project,” he said.

Drink stall owner Lee Eng Lai, 65, said he would accept the developer’s proposal to temporarily relocate to a new site.

“I hope business will become better following the new development project,” he said.

Mee goreng seller Kader Mydin, 51, was also optimistic that the new development plan would bring better fortune for the hawkers. A hawker is now paying about RM1,800 monthly for the rental.

The StarMetro had highlighted earlier about a company with links to Tan Sri Robert Kuok planning a mixed development at the site in Swatow Lane, George Town.

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