RAMADAN bazaars are back, drawing Muslims and non-Muslims alike in their search for various traditional Malay delights and all kinds of drinks.
In Selangor, the cities of Petaling Jaya, Klang and Shah Alam will be buzzing with activity as people flock to these bazaars throughout the fasting month.
Some 1,195 Ramadan bazaar lots are operating in 19 locations in Petaling Jaya.
The largest bazaar is in Kelana Jaya with 250 lots.
The second largest bazaar in the city, with 166 lots, is at Vista Business Centre in Damansara Damai while the Taman Medan bazaar located in the housing estate’s night market site has 128 lots.
Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohd Sayuthi Bakar said Ramadan bazaar lots appeared to be in less demand among traders this year, with even popular locations like Taman Medan not fully occupied.
Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), he said, had to extend the application period because there were still about 70 lots available at the site after the original closing date.
“When we called again for applications, only a little more than half of the vacant spots were taken up.”
The SS8 Sungai Way Ramadan bazaar faced a similar situation, where only 41 of 80 available spots were taken up.
In Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, only 14 Ramadan bazaar lots out of the 50 available spots were occupied.
As preparation for the Ramadan bazaars, MBPJ hosted a workshop for traders on marketing techniques to attract more customers and ways they could reduce their costs.
For the first time, MBPJ is allowing food trucks to operate along Petaling Jaya Boulevard in Section 52, in front of the city council’s headquarters.
An MBPJ spokesman said the majority of applications received to run stalls at Ramadan bazaars were for the sale of mixed rice and desserts.
“The most expensive licence, at RM200 per lot, is for stalls selling grilled food, or coconut and sugar cane drinks. This is because of the higher amount of rubbish they produce.
“Stalls selling desserts are charged between RM80 and RM120 as licence fee.”
The spokesman urged illegal traders to take up lots at Ramadan bazaars.
“Illegal traders usually set up stalls near our bazaars,” said the spokesman, adding that MBPJ would take action to ensure that such traders get themselves legalised by renting proper lots and adhering to council rules.
Klang Municipal Council (MPK) has assigned 35 sites for a total of 1,838 food stalls to operate from afternoon until 9.30pm.
The stalls sell all kinds of food, including must-haves like tepung pelita, nasi ayam berempah, kambing bakar, ayam golek, kuih keria and laksa, aside from various types of drinks.
Among the popular spots that people flock to are around Shaw Centre Point in Jalan Raja Hassan and Jalan Teluk Pulai (near Hong Leong Bank) in Taman Teluk Pulai.
Traders at all Ramadan bazaars have been told to use biodegradable packaging for food and drinks.
MPK Environmental Services Department director Dawari Daud urged all traders to care for the environment and dispose of their rubbish responsibly.
“We want all traders to be dedicated in keeping their trading areas clean,” he said.
This year, Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) has issued 1,322 trading permits for Ramadan bazaars in 28 locations around the city.
The bazaars are mostly in highly populated areas, including Sections 6, 7, 8, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 31, 35, U2, U3, and U19.
The council had enabled online applications via its e-Bazar service from early February.
MBSA Corporate Communica-tions head Shahrin Ahmad said the number of locations had been reduced, compared to 33 last year.
Bazaars in Section 32, 33, U5 and U20 have been removed as they did not draw much crowds last year.
The more traditionally popular bazaars are in Sections 17 – the biggest in the city, 19 and 28.