TRADERS in Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Alor are eager to swing back into action now that dine-in restrictions have been lifted.
Long considered Bukit Bintang’s hotspot for foodies, Jalan Alor with its myriad eateries used to attract crowds of international and domestic tourists.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent movement control orders and border closures severely impacted the traders there.
Now, as part of efforts to reclaim its mantle, the Jalan Alor Hawkers Association (JAHA) together with Bukit Bintang Environmental Committee organised a walkabout recently with Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to engage with the area’s stakeholders.
Joining Shahidan was Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Socio Economic Development executive director Anwar Mohd Zain, Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun and Bukit Bintang Umno head Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Mohd Rafique, who is a member of the DBKL advisory board.
The walkabout started with Shahidan arriving at Wong Ah Wah Restaurant, a popular eatery dating from 1973, to kick off the “KL Cegah, KL Sihat” campaign, which is aimed at boosting the confidence of domestic and international visitors to Bukit Bintang.
At the campaign launch, Shahidan said he was confident that Jalan Alor traders would once again enjoy brisk business now that Klang Valley has entered Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).
“I know that Jalan Alor was once known for its Chinese seafood restaurants.
“Today, it sees a wider variety in Malay and Indian food as well, offering more dining choices to visitors.
“As Bukit Bintang’s most famous food street, it has also been visited by international stars such as Jackie Chan,” he said.
To bolster visitor confidence, Shahidan reminded traders to adhere to health standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the National Security Council.
He said that in conjunction with DBKL’s 50th anniversary, which will be celebrated on Feb 1 next year, plans were afoot to make Kuala Lumpur a great tourism and shopping destination again.
“The ministry will play an active part in ensuring the success of all the programmes that DBKL has planned to mark the occasion,” he added.
Shahidan and his entourage were then invited to Federal Hotel, which began operations in 1957, the same year the country declared its independence.
There, the minister treated members of the media to a meal of spaghetti bolognese and vegetable pie.
This was followed by visits to Restoran Nasi Ayam Chee Ming, a business that is over half a century old, the Kuala Lumpur Baptist Church and LDS Chao Zhou Restaurant.
The minister’s presence at the launch of the campaign was a timely and much-anticipated one, said JAHA secretary Simon Ang who spoke on behalf of 120 association members.
Recounting challenges faced by traders following restrictions imposed by the MCO, he revealed businesses in the area were dealt another blow after a viral video spread false rumours that the hawker area was a hotbed for Covid-19 cases early this year.
“But now that operations have resumed, we assure visitors that all Jalan Alor traders have put in place strict procedures such as temperature screening, MySejahtera scanning plus the disinfecting of tables.
“We have made our place safe so visitors can once again come here to enjoy all kinds of food,” said Ang.
JAHA committee member Toh Kok Soon, who has been trading there for more than 20 years, addressed concerns that local visitors may be subjected to steeper prices in comparison to hawker fare sold in other areas.
“A plate of char kway teow with added cockles cost RM9 to RM10.
“This is taking into consideration that the market price of one kilogramme of cockles is RM22 for the smallest size and RM50 for sea prawns.
“Here, 10 sticks of satay is RM12. Peanut sauce and cucumber and onions are complimentary.
“A double beef burger with two slices of cheese is RM10.
“These, we feel, are fair prices. In the end, the price will really depend on what a diner orders,” said Toh.
Also present at the walkabout with Shahidan was Linda Neo, treasurer of Persatuan Penganut Dewa Teoh Kong Seng Kuan, a Chinese temple located in Tengkat Tong Shin.