KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 14): Most of the traders on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) have voiced objection to the plan by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to close a 1km stretch to private vehicles on the street, one of the oldest shopping districts in the city.
Kamdar Group managing director Kamal Kamdar said he was informed that a memorandum of protest would be sent to the authority by the local association (Batu Road Retailers’ Association), reported New Straits Times today.
According to Kamal, the decision on the road closure, which was announced by the Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abd Samad yesterday, was made after a 10-minute meeting between DBKL and traders on Jan 31.
“However in the discussion, traders were told that the decision had already been made,” he said.
Kamal did not rule out that businesses could resort to legal action if DBKL continues with the closure plans, which is to be enforced on March 15.
“I foresee a 50% or more drop in business due to this. I don’t understand how people are going to be dropped off or picked up, especially those who buy in bulk during festivities.
“Imagine, even our loaders and delivery men will have to make the loop through Dang Wangi or Jalan Tun Perak (which is sometimes closed to traffic) and get stuck at Masjid India, just to get to the back of our shops.
“It also cuts off most of our entrances and exits and shifts the jam onto already jammed roads like Jalan Tun Perak, Lebuh Ampang and Masjid India,” Kamal lamented.
He added that road closures brought on by the River of Life project had caused his business to dip between 30% and 40%.
Kamal also pointed out that the one-off closure of Jalan TAR and other main roads here for the ICERD (International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination) rally in December also caused businesses to suffer an 80% dip.
Kamal further urged the authorities to reconsider the move as the traders had already compromised when the number of lanes on the road were reduced to widen the pedestrian walkway.
Meanwhile, Satish Doshi from Sarah [email protected] Globe questioned if DBKL was bowing to pressure from festival bazaar traders who were prevented from trading at Masjid India (Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman) from last year on.
“Are they trying to bring the baazar back, when they couldn’t even weed out the large number of illegal traders and those subletting the lots in the first place?” he asked.
It was also learnt that DBKL would be announcing the location of the new Ramadan baazar for 2019, today (Thursday).
On top of that, Satish highlighted that Malaysian weather was not conducive for the al -fresco shopping- walkway plan.
“Our weather is not like that of temperate countries. It’s either very hot or it rains and floods. If you tell customers they have to walk or take a bus to our shop, we can practically say goodbye to them.
“It doesn’t make sense for them to do a cut and paste job (to reduce the number of cars on the road), all they would succeed in doing would be in shifting the traffic,” he said, adding that the new move would also force drivers to make a loop to access the closest multi-storey carparks at Masjid India.
A trader from Masjid India, who wanted to remain anonymous, said traders were still uncertain about how the regulation would affect them.
“Ours is a parallel road. I don’t know what’s going to happen but traffic will increase and this will terribly affect the bottleneck at Jalan Masjid India,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur Bumiputera Petty Traders Association’s Datuk Mohd Baba Kuttty said that he had not received any objections on the move.
“But petty traders are not really affected by this,” he said.