IT MAY be a gloomy start to the year after the December floods and the Covid-19 Omicron variant made headway in some parts of the world, but businesses in Kuala Lumpur are holding on to hope to inject life back into the city.
Popular food streets such as Petaling Street, Jalan Alor and Masjid India are raring to go in the hopes that businesses will pick up after a challenging two years of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jalan Alor Hawkers Association secretary Simon Ang said plans were in the pipeline to hold several programmes to help revive businesses in the area.
“We are forming a network with other groups in Bukit Bintang and Petaling Street to come up with events and activities that will bring people back to these places.
“It has been a challenging 2021, but we hope 2022 will be better,” he said, adding that holding the proposed programmes was dependent on the Covid-19 situation and relevant approvals from the National Security Council (NSC) as well as Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
Masjid India Business Association (Miba) president Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin is hoping that DBKL and other local agencies would work hand in hand with Masjid India businesses to revitalise the area.
“We need to drive more domestic tourism if we are to survive. We were previously dependent on mostly foreign tourists.
“There has to be strategic planning that is more domestically-driven, as footfall in this area is only 30% to 40% of what it had been previously.
“While we are slightly optimistic that this coming year will be better, we hope the situation will improve significantly.”
He added that some suggestions included beautifying Masjid India, holding events and activities as well as introducing shopping vouchers to increase foot traffic.
This year will also mark a significant milestone for Kuala Lumpur as it celebrates its 50th anniversary on Feb 1.
To mark the occasion, 50 programmes and activities have been lined up for city residents, hosted by Federal Territories Ministry and DBKL.
It was previously reported that among the programmes to be held are Kuala Lumpur Writing Competition, Kuala Lumpur Drum (Gendang) and Dance Festival, Karnival Ohhh Kuala Lumpur, Festival Nostalgia Kuala Lumpur-KL Dulu and Jom Makan Festival.
The ministry is also planning to hold a virtual Citizen’s Day (Hari Rakyat) interaction programme with Federal Territories folks in an effort to resolve problems.
This is in line with the Malaysian Family concept.
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim previously said that he wanted Kuala Lumpur to reclaim its place as South-East Asia’s top shopping destination.
He said efforts to revive Kuala Lumpur as a top shopping destination would be looked into, including holding discussions with private and government retail sectors on offering good bargains to tourists.
To commemorate Kuala Lumpur’s golden jubilee, Shahidan has urged private building owners to beautify their properties with decorative lights.