NO CHOICE:Since traders at the Datuk Keramat market refuse to relocate, City Hall is offering the mall’s shop lots to those keen to operate there
KERAMAT Mall will be opened for other traders in the vicinity if Datuk Keramat market traders and hawkers remain defiant to continue their business at the old market.
Mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail said City Hall is now left with no choice but to allow the traders to continue their business at the old market.
"We had a dialogue session with the traders' association last February and many of them have decided not to move to Keramat Mall.
"We have built a modern and comfortable place for them to run their business but they are still reluctant. What else can we do? We cannot force them to relocate if they refuse to leave the present market," said Fuad.
He added that City Hall will not take action on these reluctant traders.
"We will not demolish the old Datuk Keramat market. Traders who are willing to move to Keramat Mall are welcome to do so. Now we are offering the shop lots to other traders from nearby areas and they can start anytime."
Fuad said this after launching the Chow Kit redevelopment open day at Brisdale Hotel recently.
Fuad said that the arrangement of the lots and the multi-storey building were among the reasons the traders did not want to relocate.
The traders claimed that the arrangement of the premises was not strategic. The wet market, for instance, is located on the first floor as compared to just one level at the present Datuk Keramat market.
Streets had highlighted the issue of Keramat Mall turning into a white elephant if it failed to get traders from the market to relocate.
The complex, built at a cost of RM70 million, was to house a wet market, dry market, food court and a multipurpose hall as well as parking bays.
A recent Streets check of the old Datuk Keramat market showed that the market was a hive of activity.
We found that the level of cleanliness of the market was below satisfactory.
The waste from various stalls, especially the wet market were not disposed of properly and the drain was clogged with garbage.
Datuk Keramat resident, Munap Long, 66, said it was time for traders to change and make a fresh start.
"I buy my provisions at the old market regularly as it is the nearest market to my house. But I feel uncomfortable to do my shopping here as the market is old and dirty.
"I don't mind if the traders move to Keramat Mall as the complex provides a comfortable and cleaner environment. It is only half a mile away from the old market," said Munap, who has been living in Datuk Keramat for over 30 years.
Streets also visited Keramat Mall. There was a slight improvement since our visit four months ago as there was an increase in visitors and new tenants.
There are three new food operators at the ground level and tailors at the ground and first floors.
Food operator Husin Mat Dali said with the additional traders, the number of customers has increased slightly.
"The staff and workers from the nearby commercial areas are aware of our existence and they have their breakfast and lunch here regularly," said Husin.
"But we are still worried as many are unaware that Keramat Mall has been opened," said Husin, who moved in last September.