Shops along Jalan 3/42A in Taman Sejahtera, Kuala Lumpur, have seen a drastic drop in business as the access road has been blocked by an underground sewerage upgrading project.
The project by Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA) started last month.
Business owners estimate losses to be between 60% and 80%.
Coffee shop owner Yong Chiew Sang, 60, said customer traffic had reduced by more than half.
“I was told that the closure would be for a week but it is going to be a month now.
“I am the main tenant of this restaurant, selling drinks and light food. I usually make about RM1,500 a day but now it does not exceed RM500.
“My rental is about RM5,000, which I share with seven other stalls here. Two have already told me that they are going to close this month. How am I supposed to pay the landlord?
“I hope there will be some kind of compensation for business owners who suffer losses due to this road closure,” she said.
A mechanic shop operator also complained about decline in the number of new customers.
Didi Auto Service manager Tan Hwa Loong, 30, said the shop entrance was blocked off from the view of potential customers because they would not drive by the shop.
“Although half of the road was opened last Saturday, motorists prefer going to other car workshops as it is very dusty here.
“Regulars are also calling me up to check if my shop is accessible to decide if they want make a visit.
“I am seeing about 60% to 80% decline in customers, worse still, my front entrance is damaged by the underground work,” he said.
He wanted the contractor to fix his shop’s damaged entrance once the project was completed.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng set up a meeting between business owners and the contractor to air their problems at the site.
Main contractor Jaks Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Wong Kim Kong said it was unfortunate that the project had involved that road and caused inconvenience to the people, but stressed that it was for the greater good.
“We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused and will try to expedite the project.
“Usually, it will take about two to three months to complete a project like this, provided there are no underground obstruction, but there are utility cables underneath.
“However, we are trying to complete the work by Chinese New Year on Feb 16.
“I hope everyone will be patient as we try to speed things up,” he said.
Commenting on the business owners’ demand for compensation, Wong said he would not commit but would consider the amount requested.
“We will repair the damages caused by the project but will not commit to paying for the loss of business.
“We have the permit to work on the public road and the road closure is inevitable. We hope the people will understand our predicament too,” he said.