TENANTS of stalls at Emporium Makan, a well-loved food court along Jalan Pasar in Klang that had been slated for demolition, have been given a chance to continue trading on a month-to-month basis.
According to Klang Municipal Council (MPK), the grace period to trade could stretch until Dec 31, before the building is demolished to make way for a light rail transit (LRT) phase 3 line station.
MPK president Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin said the council decided to give the month-to-month grace period to tenants as “the demolition date of Emporium Makan had not been firmed up”.
“The council was told that there were changes to the demolition date. Because of this, we are allowing the tenants to continue doing business month-to-month until Dec 31, while giving time for them to find a new place.
“But in the event the builders need to move in before December, we will inform the traders (to move out). So, we want the traders to actively find a new place to move to,” he said.
Emporium Makan was slated to be shut down on June 30 and the 59 hawkers operating there were given until July 9 to clear out.
Yasid added that since the notice was issued, some 30 tenants had moved out.
“Now, we have 29 stalls still holding the licences but only a handful are actively operating their business and some are in the midst of searching for a new place,” he said.
Stall owner Nuraini Shahriman, 61, who has been selling Malay dishes for over 30 years at Emporium Makan, said she was thankful to the council for the reprieve.
“It has been chaotic over the past month as we have been unable to find a new place that offers reasonable rent. MPK’s notice to move out has expired. But now, I have the next few months to search for a better location that offers similar rent,” she said.
According to one trader, the rent was RM45 for a stall lot in 1970 but has risen to RM200 now, while several of the more prominent lots in front go for RM250.
Noodle seller Lee Wee Kiat, 70, who has been at Emporium Makan for more than a decade, said he was happy with MPK’s decision to allow them to continue doing business.
“I still have not been able to get a new place even though the notice has expired. But the extra few months will give us time to search for an alternative trading area,” he told StarMetro.
Azhar Hussin, 47, who sells fried rice and noodles, said while it was good that MPK had extended the time frame to trade at the food court, the council should issue proper notices regarding this and not just make a verbal announcement.
“But we want MPK to put it in black and white that we are allowed to be at the food court on a month-to-month basis. Now, we are just hearing the news through other people. I think MPK must act in a professional manner and the council president should come down and brief us,” he said.
Opened in mid-1969, the oldest food court in Klang has been serving up a range of hawker fare, from wantan mee, chicken rice and mee jawa to lontong, satay and bubur cha cha.
There is even a following for the butter coffee and toast bread with half-boiled eggs here.
On hearing the news that the hawker centre would close for good, Klang foodies, both young and old, made a beeline to the stalls to enjoy their favourite hawker fare while they still could.