NUSAJAYA: Johor plans to reintroduce the Ungku Puan night outdoor hawker centre as part of the Johor Baru city centre transformation plan.
Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said reopening the centre would help bring back the crowd to the city centre especially after office hours and at nights.
“This is one of the things that we want to include in the transformation plan,’’ he said at the opening of the Columbia Asia Hospital Nusajaya @ Afiat Healthpark recently.
The hawker centre, which was the biggest alfresco dining area in the city centre, was highly popular with locals and tourists but was closed several years ago by the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB).
Ghani said the reopening of the centre would have to include proper disposal of food wastes and hawkers must practice high standard of hygiene.
He said apart from the centre, the opening of Sungai Segget, which was covered and turned into a pedestrian walkway several years ago, would be the impetus of the transformation plan.
Prime Minister had recently announced that RM200mil would be allocated to open and clean up Sungai Segget, one of the filthiest rivers in Malaysia.
The river, which flows along Jalan Wong Ah Fook in Johor Baru city centre, was covered at a cost of RM6mil as the stench and sight of rubbish and raw sewage being dumped into it was becoming unbearable to many.
“We are looking at the Cheonggyecheon Stream that flows in downtown Seoul in South Korea to rejuvenate Sungai Segget,’’ said Ghani.
The 5.8km stream was such an eyesore before it was covered with concrete step by step over 20 years from 1958, while a 5.6km-long and 16m-elevated highway was completed in 1976.
In July 2003, then Seoul mayor Lee Myung-bak, now president of South Korea, initiated a project to remove the elevated highway and restore the stream.
Three years later, the once extremely filthy stream was rejuvenated at a cost of US$350mil (RM1.15bil) and now Cheonggyecheon has become a popular recreational park among Seoul residents and tourists.