THREE months. That is the time frame Kuala Lumpur City Hall has given its officers to resolve all pending issues relating to the upgrading plans for Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang.
Mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said the project had been delayed for far too long and gave a September deadline for everything to be fully settled.
“Malaysia Day, I want everything completed by then. No more excuses and no more delays,” he told StarMetro during a visit to the popular tourist attraction.
Malaysia Day falls on Sept 16.
The Jalan Alor project was mooted in early 2013 and given an 11-month deadline for its first phase then.
However, almost five years later, plans to upgrade and beautify the popular tourist spot into a food paradise of international standard has been pushed back several times and left stakeholders feeling uneasy.
“I want this solved once and for all, it should not have taken so long,” Nor Hisham said.
When asked about the grouses brought up by the stakeholders, Nor Hisham said the traders expressed uncertainty over the project.
“The traders are concerned about their livelihood; they don’t want change.
“They want to maintain the size of the stalls, and some are asking about legalising their stalls. We will resolve everything,” he said, adding that he would engage with all the parties and that no one would be left behind.
Jalan Alor Hawkers and Traders Association secretary Simon Ang was appreciative of the mayor’s gesture of meeting the traders.
“What we need is an open dialogue with DBKL where everyone concerned – hawkers, traders, business owners and budget hotel operators – is present.
“We don’t want a situation where a representative of one group attends the meeting and where many things are kept in the dark,” he said.
Ang questioned how outsiders were given licence to operate in Jalan Alor although there has been a freeze on new temporary licence since 2016.
“We have old-timers who have been operating for over a decade here and have been applying for a licence for years but were constantly rejected by DBKL.
“It does not seem fair that they are sidelined from getting a licence and newcomers are getting it so easily,” Ang said.
He said he asked DBKL to come clean on a census it had carried out and wanted to know why the authority was still issuing licence for the area.
“A lot of things are not correct (about the Jalan Alor upgrading) and even the drawings keep changing.”
Meanwhile, several hawkers who spoke to StarMetro on condition of anonymity, claimed that some parties new to Jalan Alor managed to obtain temporary licence and sublet their stalls to third parties.
“These people are charging between RM3,000 and RM5,000 per stall, this is not fair,” said one trader.
“I have been operating here for 14 years and DBKL has rejected my application for a licence many times,” he added.
The Jalan Alor hawkers pay a RM144 fee per year for their licence but currently only need to pay 50% of the amount.
It was recently reported that Jalan Alor stakeholders were anxious about the status of the project.
They are asking for more details from DBKL about the size, location and number of stalls, and whether those currently trading there would be given licence.
The first phase of the upgrading project, which was completed two years ago, stretches from Dragon View Restaurant to Wong Ah Wah Chicken Wings.
Phase two, which started last year, is from Hotel Alor Boutique to Sawadee Thai Restaurant.
Phase one mostly involved restaurants, and the second phase a majority of the hawker stalls.
It was reported that the project would cost about RM12mil although the figure is believed to have increased over the years.
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