WHEN the Bukit Bintang MRT station was finally completed, people were reluctant to use the facility despite there being a back lane that would cut their journey by half.
They were put off by the dark and dingy alleyways that were notorious for drug addicts, vagrants and rubbish.
But that all changed when Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) completed the first of a series of mural projects in the Jalan Alor area in 2018.
“It literally transformed the neighbourhood and brought vibrancy back to the area, ” Local Agenda 21 (LA21) secretariat and coordinator A. Ghani Mohamed said.
“It also dispelled the negative perception people had about the area’s dirty alleys.
“Now the place is buzzing with activity.
“Before the MCO (movement control order), many tourists would come here to take selfies and do videos to post on social media.
“Even filmmakers did their shoots here, ” he added.
The transformation also caught the interest of the local business community who started renovating and upgrading their premises to leverage the increased foot traffic.
“I painted my shop yellow to go with DBKL’s mural surrounding it. It not only brightened up the lane, but more customers were dropping by my coffeeshop, either to have a cup of coffee or merely to ask for directions, ” said Peter Hing who rents a shop near Jalan Alor.
Roadside traders selling food in the area also claimed that more people started to eat their breakfast there.
“Before this they would just order takeaway, ’’ said P. Ramasamy, who sells nasi lemak.
Boutique hotels in the area also noticed that more people preferred to stay in their hotels, believing that it could be due to the vibrant murals in the area.
“The murals were definitely bringing people into the area before the MCO, but people were also careful to ensure that the area was kept clean, ” said Bukit Bintang Central Environment Committee (BBCEC) chairman Simon Leong.
“It created a buzz in the area and spurred the business owners to take ownership of their lanes, which they never did before, ” he added.
Ghani and Leong suggested that DBKL convince more business owners to collaborate and take ownership of their back lanes for the project to be a success.
“We are doing something similar in Brickfields, ” Ghani said, revealing that DBKL had identified a wall there for a mural.
He added, “But it requires everyone to work and care for the area together.”
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