Encouraging staycations in downtown KL


Cosplayers joining the fun at a previous Federal Territories Day launch parade. — Filepic

KUALA Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is focusing on culture, music and tourism as core areas in 2023 to help drive the city’s economy and create jobs for locals.

DBKL is planning more than 200 programmes comprising lifestyle activities such as art, culture, music and dance as well as food events from January to December to boost Kuala Lumpur’s economy.

Mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah, whose contract as Kuala Lumpur mayor was extended for six months from last October to the end of March, said his priority was getting the city’s economy back on track.

“We need to create new content to generate economic activities and bring vibrancy back to the city,” he said.

“Apart from weekly events like KL Car Free Day, Kuala Lumpur Fitness (Kulfit), Santai Seni@TAR and arts workshops, DBKL will also hold events to encourage out-of-towners to visit the city, explore it and stay for a few days.

“Older areas in downtown Kuala Lumpur will be upgraded, spruced up and complemented with activities so that visitors coming for staycations have something to look forward to,” he said.

Mahadi added that Medan Pasar was one of the areas identified for a makeover.

The mayor elaborated that long-term plans would include the regeneration of older parts of the city as well as creating a clean, urban environment which was sustainable, liveable, inclusive and carbon-neutral.

Festivals galore

The year will start off on a healthy note with a fun run on New Year’s Day as well as musical and community events taking place at Laman Santai Seni in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman throughout January.

DBKL is also looking at collaborating with the private sector to organise events.

The car-free morning initiative will resume on Sundays to encourage city folk to opt for public transportation into the city.

DBKL will also reignite many of its cultural and musical festivals that were stalled for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mahadi said DBKL would also leverage on major festivals like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali and Christmas by organising bazaars, flea markets and food events for the community.

In February, the exciting Kuala Lumpur Drum and Dance Festival (KL Genta) 2023 is set to be launched.

The annual event, from Feb 21 to 27, will not only see the participation of local councils nationwide but international participants from China, Turkiye, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Uzbekistan.

The event will be held at Dataran Merdeka. There will also be a myriad of cultural and musical festivals such as food festivals, Latin American Festival, Bollywood concert, a musical theater show on the late Sudirman, a cultural night festival in collaboration with Think City, KL River Jazz Festival, KL Street Jam (focusing on band performances) and book festivals lined up until the end of the year.

City Hall’s Culture, Arts and Tourism Department’s cultural troupe has a big role to play in the events and is practising hard to put up exciting performances for the masses.

Mahadi added that he was keen on inviting street artistes such as mime performers, who were popular many years ago, to participate as well.

These street performers used to dress up in glittery costumes and entertain crowds in the Bukit Bintang area.

Also close to his heart is the KL Park Festival featuring park activities and events at city parks.

“I am a big proponent of healthy living and low-carbon initiatives. I envision seeing more trees being planted in the city to help bring down the temperature.

“Trees help reduce heat, and through evapotranspiration, the trees absorb water through their roots and release it through their leaves.

“So imagine a city where the temperature is 26°C and the amount of energy we could save,’’ he added.

Upcoming projects

Apart from the festivities, Mahadi said DBKL was working on upgrading markets, improving commercial spaces and increasing parking lots and council homes in the city.

“We need to prioritise on issues that matter to KL folk such as affordable housing as it is a huge challenge in the city,” he said.

“We are facing a shortage of units and there is a long waiting list of applicants wanting to rent affordable units,” he said.

Mahadi added that DBKL has just completed its first council home called Residensi Sungai Udang in Segambut where 1,251 units were available for rent at less than RM900 a month.

Three more council homes were under construction and one more was in the planning stage, he said.

As for private projects, Mahadi was looking forward to the launch of Merdeka 118, previously called Warisan Merdeka Tower.

The 118-storey, 678m-tall skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur is expected to open in a few months time.


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