Upgrading work going as planned


The new temporary Pasar Besar Cheras, which opened on March 15, is clean and airy.

CLEAN, light and airy aptly describe the new temporary Pasar Besar Cheras in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

The two-storey building is an improvement from the old market located next door, which is being demolished to make way for a residential development.

Apart from being plagued with cleanliness problems and faulty facilities, thefts were also common at the old market.

Built at a cost of around RM11.5mil, the new market -- opened on March 15 -- comprises wet and dry sections with some 160 shops, of which 127 are already tenanted.

The upgrades on Jalan Tasik Permaisuri 1 involved paving the sidewalk, pruning trees and installing metal fences.The upgrades on Jalan Tasik Permaisuri 1 involved paving the sidewalk, pruning trees and installing metal fences.

The majority sell groceries while a handful of shops offer tailoring services.

There is also a separate section for selling non-halal items.

The relocation had been in the works for some time and StarMetro reported about it on Nov 28 and Dec 1 last year.

Undertaken by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), the new market was part of the Lestari Niaga@Kuala Lumpur 2023 initiative that aimed to upgrade and beautify 83 hawker centres and petty trading sites in the country’s capital.

The market was among nine locations in the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary constituency identified for this initiative.

A customer who only gave her name as Nur Amirah, 28, said the new market was cleaner and maintained better.

The improved look and condition are much welcomed, although some traders there have suggestions on how to enhance foot traffic and bring in more sales.

Traders at Bandar Seri Permaisuri Hawker Centre report a surge in customers after the upgrades that cost around RM825,000. — Photos: KAMARUL ARIFFIN and SHAARI CHEMAT/The StarTraders at Bandar Seri Permaisuri Hawker Centre report a surge in customers after the upgrades that cost around RM825,000. — Photos: KAMARUL ARIFFIN and SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

Ibrahim Rahim, 47, who sells fresh chicken, hoped DBKL would place signboards to inform customers about the new location.

V. Supramaniam, 56, who sells coconut milk, expressed similar sentiments, noting that the market could use more promotions.

She also hoped the vacant shops would be taken up soon, to attract more customers.

As for the requisite parking facility, StarMetro has learned that a plan is afoot to increase the number of parking bays here.

A DBKL representative said the existing lines would be repainted, changing them from parallel to diagonal parking and thus doubling the number of bays.

Traders near Jalan Tasik Permaisuri 1 in Bandar Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, have been relocated to a strip of land nearby.Traders near Jalan Tasik Permaisuri 1 in Bandar Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, have been relocated to a strip of land nearby.

The new temporary Pasar Besar Cheras also sports metal fences − an addition to the original plan − which is another instance of the local authority showing that it listens to the traders, who have requested for the fence to deter thieves and enhance security at the market.

Apart from the temporary Pasar Besar Cheras, StarMetro visited two other locations in Bandar Tun Razak to obtain feedback from the traders involved.

Meanwhile, DBKL had also undertaken work to upgrade the sidewalk along Jalan Tasik Permaisuri 1, costing about RM75,000.

The project involved paving the sidewalk, pruning trees there and installing metal fences to prevent petty traders from pitching their stalls along the road.

This area used to host roadside traders who were originally granted licence under the Free Trade Area initiative introduced in 2021 by the then Federal Territories Ministry.

This stretch of road had drawn complaints due to increased traffic and cleanliness problems caused by the stalls.

Nowadays, the traders numbering 95 are allowed to operate daily on a strip of land located next to the sidewalk.

DBKL has provided canopies to the traders and they are free to operate without any fees. The traders just have to ensure that their operating licence is valid.

While some grouses over the relocation are inevitable, the new site is arguably a reasonable move as the local authority seeks to strike a balance between ensuring orderliness and allowing the traders to make a living.

Another upgrade involved the Bandar Seri Permaisuri Hawker Centre, which is a food court, costing around RM825,000.

The works involved putting up roofs to cover the dining area and upgrading the children’s playground.

The project was undertaken following requests by traders, who said their customers were exposed to the elements due to a lack of roof.

A customer Mohd Asri Rahman, 34, said the roof was a much-needed upgrade.

“Prior to this, we were at the mercy of the weather, which deterred many people from coming here,” he said.

Zulkhairi Abd Aziz, 52, who spoke on the traders’ behalf, said the food court saw a surge in customers since the upgrades.

“The increase is quite significant that we need more parking bays. At present, there are only 64 parking bays.

“We propose that DBKL repaint the bays from parallel to diagonal parking to increase their numbers,” he said.

Another suggestion is for DBKL to implement a parking system where the first two hours are free, and anyone parking there for longer will have to pay a fee after that.

Zulkhairi said that currently, a handful of nearby residents regularly parked their vehicles at the food court grounds, taking up space meant for customers.

Overall, the upgraded facilities under Lestari Niaga@Kuala Lumpur seem to have achieved the objectives of benefitting traders and customers, and improving the surroundings.

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