A new generation of markets are coming up in Kuala Lumpur. They will no longer be limited to the regular wet and dry markets and a food court.
Instead, these buildings that City Hall has dubbed third-generation markets will also boast public amenities such as clinics, libraries, sporting facilities, recreational centres and shops.
The first such market has opened in Taman Mulia in Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras.
Built at a cost of RM20mil, the Bandar Tun Razak commercial and community centre is an eight-storey building whose colourful bright yellow-orange facade makes it clearly visible to motorists travelling on the East-West Link.
The centre is located near the Bandar Tun Razak toll plaza and linked to the Bandar Tun Razak LRT station and Sri Kota public flats by two covered pedestrian bridges.
It has 43 wet and dry market lots on the first and second floors and 40 food stalls on the second and third levels. It also has a community hall, four indoor badminton courts, dressing rooms and a surau on the eighth floor as well as plenty of car park space.
About 10 shop lots on the first floor have been allocated for a post office, a dry-cleaning facility, a National Registration Department branch office and a sewing training centre.
The building is also equipped with a solar-powered water heating system and a spiral waste bin to help reduce foul smell.
Previously, second-generation markets were built in the 1980s in Gombak, Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Cheras.
Besides the Bandar Tun Razak centre, another such centre has been built in Bandar Baru Sentul and but it is has yet to be opened. The construction of the third (a privatised project) in Datuk Keramat) is abandoned.
According to City Hall’s official newsletter City News, the new concept of third-generation markets is to change public perception about markets.
“It will provide more avenues for sports and recreation for all sectors of society. The move will also subscribe to the vision of transforming the city into a world-class city,” it said.
For traders who were mainly relocated from a nearby trading site in Taman Mulia, the centre’s main shortcoming is the lack of publicity on what it has to offer.
Asmah Shaari, 46, who now runs a stall on the thrid floor, said City Hall should promote the centre so that more people knew of its existence.
“We like to trade here because we can wash and cook in a cleaner area but our business is quite slow. I used to get about RM300 a day but nowadays I earn little,” said Asmah, who was relocated from her previous site outside the LRT station.
She said still run her pisang goreng and keropok stall near the LRT station to make ends meet despite warnings from enforcement officers.
She believes that the centre will be more vibrant as it is located in a densely-populated neighbourhood but it will not be a reality if people do not support the concept of the multi-purpose centre and visit the place.
Abdul Aziz Anuar, 60, who sells clothes on the second floor, said City Hall should consider using mass media like radio, television and newspapers to draw the crowd to the centre.
Vegetable seller Noraslinda Nordin, 33, said: “The lack of traders at the centre might be one of the reasons why not many people come here. City Hall has not done much to publicise this place, so not many people know about it.”
She said her customers complained of inconvenience as they had to park their cars on the upper levels and walk to the market on the first floor.
Regular customer Khartini Ibrahim, 40, said she was used to buying her foodstuff from old-timers at the previous site and sought them out again at the centre.
“For the time being, it is quiet and there are few traders. I pity them,” she said.
A City Hall officer there said most of the food traders had begun their business but the response from those who were offered lots was not good.
“We have given offer letters to about 15 traders out of the 20 lots in the market but most of them have taken on the wait-and-see approach. I advise them to come in as soon as possible.
“We have met the traders’ association and are aware of their problems. We will consider their views,” he said.
Besides badminton, the centre’s hall is also open for bookings for special functions. The rental fee for the badminton courts is RM4 per hour.
For functions, users will be charged RM40 per hour (without air-conditioning) and RM100 per hour (with air-conditioning).