Don’t wipe away history, merchants caution Prasarana

Jalan Sultan merchants urged the MRT project owner Prasarana to help preserve the century-old shops along the road and to avoid letting it to be washed away by the wave of modern development.

Merchant Choy Foong Meng, who owns a festival decoration shop at the location, said it is rare to find a similar place like Jalan Sultan that provides the nostalgic experience of having traditional merchandise shops, eateries and hotels sitting side by side.

“It is a unique community here, you can’t find it much in KL nowadays,” she said.

Hotel operator Judy Tan asked Prasarana to be sentimental towards history and Chinese identity surrounding the place, which is next to Petaling Street.

“We are talking about some 100-year-old shops, they can’t just wipe away the history like that,” she said.

She added that her hotel was built over three generations and was even recommended in the popular travel guide ‘Lonely Planet’.

“You cannot rebuild history, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” she said.

Some 31 shops along Jalan Sultan were served an acquisition notice by Prasarana earlier this month as the company is building an underground MRT station and alignment at the location.

Prasarana claimed the acquisition was for safety concerns, much to the doubts of merchants.

“They say they don’t need to dismantle the buildings, but they afraid it will fall down during the construction period, hence they need to relocate us,”

“But if it really falls down, what will happen to the road users?” Choy asked.

Prasarana conducted a briefing last Thursday, in which they asked merchants to furnish property valuation for compensations by August 15, yesterday.

“I don’t know why they are pushing so hard, we should have been given two months to do the valuation,” she bemoaned.

The merchant who has been there for 16 years said a relocation to them will mean additional hardship and lost of ties with their customers.

“Some customers only visit us once or twice a year during festive season. Once we move out, it is hard for them find us and it will be hard for us to capture the ties back,” she said.

The merchants, who met with MCA president Chua Soi Lek today, agreed to form a 3-member committee to meet Public Transport Commission to resolve the issue.


photo courtesy to Marius