Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Penang’s own Petaling Street

A Petaling Street in George Town? Shoppers and tourists in Penang can check out the new night market at Campbell Street.

The Penang Municipal Council is bringing back the pasar malam to the once popular shopping area after eight years in a move to woo the crowds back to the inner city.

The night market will operate for a month from 6pm to 11pm. From there it will move to three other areas – Johor Road, La Salle school in Air Itam and Batu Lanchang – before returning to Campbell Street in September.

Charlotte Shun, 19, from Johor said she was looking forward to visiting the pasar malam.

Her friend Christina Eh concurred, saying: “Both local and foreign tourists like places where they can bargain and mingle with the locals.”

Many Campbell Street traders are also hoping that business will pick up when the street is turned into a night market.

Clothing shop owner C. S. Lim said reviving the pasar malam in the area would provide healthy competition for existing shop owners and attract more visitors to the area.

“I think it is a very good idea. Many hotel operators nearby have told us that tourists often asked them where they could find a pasar malam in Penang.

“About 70% of the traders here are wholesalers; so with a mix of pasar malam operators, hopefully, we can attract consumers and tourists instead of only those buying wholesale goods,” he said, adding that the pasar malam traders should not block the existing shops.

“We welcome them but I hope that the stalls will be arranged in such a way that visitors can walk between the stalls and our shops so that it is a win-win situation.”

Lim who currently opens his shop until 8pm, said he would consider extending the hours if business was good.

Costume jewellery shop operator Paul Yap believes things can only get better.

“Business here is already so slow that things cannot get worse. I am glad the authorities are doing something to revive the place,” he said.

A restaurant owner who only wanted to be known as Ibrahim, was less enthusiastic.

“I don’t think a pasar malam is the answer. We need something more unique and exciting to lure tourists here. Instead of a night market, we should organise more cultural events in the area,” he said.

The council has indicated that the Campbell Street pasar malam would be a permanent fixture and tourist attraction in George Town if response is good.

The Campbell Street Pedestrian Mall and night market are also linked to the 800m Gold Bazaar from Kampung Kolam to the Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) temple in Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling and are part of the council’s urban renewal efforts to upgrade and revitalise the inner city.

Source : STAR
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