WITHOUT illegal stalls and illegal foreign workers, the Kuala Lumpur Wholesale Market is now a cleaner and roomier place for customers to buy their essentials.
In a four-day sanitisation exercise, authorities moved in to rid the place of illegal stalls and weed out illegal immigrants and carried out sanitisation of the market when the enhanced movement order (MCO) was enforced from April 20 at the areas surrounding Pusat Bandar Utara here.
Customer Thiagarajan Govindasamy, who was there to buy provisions for his restaurant on Tuesday (May 5), said the place is now very different from its pre-MCO days, when one had to step gingerly around red-stained spit puddles left by foreigners who had a habit of chewing betel leaves while working.
He added the market was a more comfortable place to shop as visitors could now move freely along open pathways between the stalls.
Previously, it was congested with ad hoc stalls and workers telling customers to make away as they moved goods along these paths.
The parking area, once filled with illegal stalls, has also been cleared, making it easier for visitors to find a spot.
There is also more space for wholesale buyers to load goods into their lorries and pick-up trucks.
Traders are also hiring locals to man their stalls and help customers with bulk purchases.
"We managed to get help from friends and through social media posts," said one wholesale trader who only wanted to be known as Tan.
Most traders have also taken the task of moving heavy crates and boxes by themselves – either manually or using forklift trucks.
"In my case, since I am old, I have my son to help out," said Tan.
Vegetable seller Liew Mun Seng said traders were generally pleased that the authorities played their part in sprucing up the market.
He added that all stall owners were given free testing for Covid-19.
For shoppers who prefer to avoid large crowds, Kuala Lumpur Vegetables Wholesalers Association president Wong Keng Fatt suggested they come on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
"On these days, disinfection exercise will take place from 6pm to noon. As this requires vegetable sellers to remove their produce from the floor, a few sellers will choose not to open to avoid the hassle.
"So when these shops close, the trading floor is less crowded," said Wong.
Operating hours at the wholesale market during the MCO is from noon to 7am, and 10am to 7pm.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, when sanitising is done, the market is closed from 4pm to 6pm. The market is closed on Sundays.
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