Medan Selera Damai at Jalan Batu Bata in Kuala Lumpur has been identified for a makeover and will get a new name in an effort to inject life into the dying complex.
The food court — located near a commercial centre close to Pekeliling Bus Terminal and Sungai Gombak — was opened in 2006 but failed to attract crowds.
Over the years, the food court with 61 lots, saw many of its traders shutter down, one by one.
“It’s very sad. It is a good location but businesses have been on the decline even before the pandemic,” said DBKL Socio-economic Development executive director Anwar Mohd Zain.
“We are going to give it a fresh coat of paint and fix it up again, including adding new lighting to brighten up the place,” he said. Part of the rebranding exercise involves relocating food traders operating along Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1 (near Quill City Mall on Jalan Sultan Ismail) to the food court.
“Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1 is renowned for Kelantanese cuisine, especially the singgang dishes and we hope to leverage its popularity,” Anwar said.
He hoped that those who enjoy Kelantanese cuisine would make the effort to go to the food court when traders move in by early next year.
The food court is 1km away from Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1.
“Once the upgrading works are done, Medan Selera Damai will be renamed. For now, we have settled with the name Singgang@Damai, but it is not cast in stone. We are still toying with it.”
Anwar said DBKL hoped the food court would attract visitors once the makeover was completed.
More than a makeover needed
StarMetro visited the Damai food court during lunch hour recently and found only six stalls open.
Damna Husin, who operates La Bonda Corner, has been selling nasi ayam for more than 10 years here. She said the area lost its lustre long before the pandemic hit.
“It is a nice location with a view of Sungai Gombak but I think DBKL should do something to promote this place. Many people still don’t know that we are here,” the 60-year-old said.
Rosita Kedel, who operates Rosita Kitchen stall which sells Negri Sembilan cuisine, said DBKL should repair fans and lights in the food court.
“Repainting the place is not enough. The fans here have not been working for a long time and at night, this place looks like a nightclub with dim lighting,” the 55-year-old remarked.
A diner, who only wanted to be identified as Zulkifli, said DBKL should also ensure adequate facilities such as parking space, surau and toilets were available.
“Parking is available nearby but there are no proper signage for it, and the surau has been closed for a long time,” he said.
Zulkifli added that DBKL should allow some ticketing counters from Pekeliling Bus Terminal to operate at the food court too.
“People who come to buy tickets can spend time at the food court while waiting for their buses to arrive. I am sure the place will be popular again,” he added.
Meanwhile, traders at Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1 are hoping for an extension of time before moving to the Damai food court.
“We have no choice. We know we have to move by early next year. But we hope that DBKL can postpone the relocation exercise until after Hari Raya which is in early May,” said a trader who wanted to be known as Ruksan.
Another trader agreed with Ruksan, saying that they needed time as they just recently resumed business and wanted to make the most of their time at Jalan Dewan Sulaiman 1.
“I hear the Damai food court is not ‘happening’. I am worried that my customers will not go there after we move,” said Ruslan Dek who sells barbecued fish.
“Give us time, please,” he said.
There are some 20 stalls here along Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1 which operate in the evenings between 5pm and midnight. The place is very popular for late-night snackers.