TRANSIT took note of this interesting and disturbing article about the introduction of a night market at the site of the old North Klang bus terminal, which was closed in late 2007 when Klang Sentral was opened.
The irony, of course, is that the bus area remains closed to buses – despite the fact that most buses that serve Klang town have returned to the North Klang bus terminal area, and Klang residents have called on the MPK to improve amenities and facilities.
What makes it worse is that in 4 years, the Selangor government has not stepped in to improve public transport in Klang, reopening the North Klang bus terminal and introducing new services. In addition, SPAD has not stepped in and resolved the issue, despite entreaties from TRANSIT, who recommended to SPAD that solving the Klang Sentral and North Klang bus terminal issues was the best place for them to get started.
The resolution of the North Klang bus terminal issue is going to be a major factor in any improvement to public transport in the west Klang Valley.
Flea market draws flak (The Star)
Saturday February 18, 2012
Story and photos by ELAN PERUMAL
THE Klang Municipal Council’s decision to approve the Nadi Kota Uptown flea market at the site of the former North Klang bus terminal has not gone down well with traders in the area.
They feel that the council’s decision to approve the market which operates from 10pm to 4am daily is not a good idea.
The traders said this was because the bus terminal issue had not been resolved yet after the move to Klang Sentral in Meru four years ago.
Acting council president Mohd Ikhsan Mukri said the flea market was approved on a trial basis for three months and that their business would not be affected by the move.
He said the flea market would be allowed to operate only after 10pm when the buses stop entering the Jalan Pos Baru and Jalan Pos so that it would not affect the traffic flow in the area.
[TRANSIT: Of course, the buses are allowed to park on the roadside affecting traffic flow in the area. Why doesn’t MPK open their eyes and realize that the terminal needs to be reopened, if only to give the buses a staging area.]
“The shops in the area are closed by the time the market opens and we do not see any problem here.
“The operator of the market is also responsible for cleaning up the area before the buses start coming in at 5.30am,” he said.
Klang Traders Association chairman Abdul Rani Muin said they were totally against the Uptown idea.
He said the traders feared that it would be used by the foreigners as a platform to carry out their business activities.
“As it is now, the town is flooded with foreigners who have also taken away a substantial share of our business.
[TRANSIT: It’s hard for us to comment on issues related to “foreigners” because we do not share the same negative perceptions of “foreigners” that are often used by people to express their “concerns.” Frankly, “foreigners” have every right to be part of Malaysian society. Malaysia has a tradition of immigration, and historically these lands have always been a place of gathering, interaction and movement. We also dare not deny the fact that ‘foreigner’ make a significant economic contribution to our country.]
“Bangladeshis, Nepalese, Myanmar nationals and others are operating all kinds of businesses in our midst and thus giving us a tough time,” he said.
[TRANSIT: Boo hoo. We feel for you. That’s the market economy lah, entrepreneurship + low barriers to entry = competition = better choice and lower prices for consumers. Of course, it helps if the MPK is being a little bit “entrepreneurial” as well.]
Rani said the traders also felt that the flea market should be relocated to a more appropriate area.
[TRANSIT: How about relocating it to Klang Sentral? Since there aren’t many buses going there, maybe the night market would be a draw?]
He said the presence of the market had further jeopardised the chance for the former bus terminal to be reopened.
“We are still hoping the bus terminal will be reopened at the former site and this sort of activity will not help our cause,” he said.
[TRANSIT: We don’t think the night market has jeapordized the chance for the former bus terminal to be reopened. Frankly, the Selangor Government and MPK have been advised on numerous occasions that the terminal must be reopened. The message has been ignored by the government and many in the public for many years. After all, Klang town has now become a “pass-through” town, largely ignored by the traveling public.
TRANSIT has called on SPAD to make improvements as a “quick win” for the new organization, but they were more interested in facilitating the MRT project. Indeed, SPAD’s Bus Transformation Plan says nothing about Klang (except for the reference to BRT along the Federal Highway) or the issue of Klang Sentral and the North Klang bus terminal. Prasarana and RapidKL have raised their voice on cooperation between bus operators. They could raise their voice and call for the reopening but so far they have chosen not to.]
The Klang Uptown flea market is operated by Nadi Kota Event Management which is an entity of the Klang Market Traders and Bumiputera Entrepreneurs Cooperative.
Cooperative chairman cum Nadi Kota director Mohd Zaini Mustafa said the flea market concept was created with the intention of helping petty traders.
He said the market provided opportunity for petty traders including single mothers and all those who were looking for part-time business opportunities.
Zaini said the trading lots were priced at a monthly rental of RM550 each and they were equipped with lighting and canopy.
He said the rental also included trading licence for the petty traders.
“The council has approved 100 lots for a start and our aim is to have more lots.
“More than 50 of the lots have been taken up and we believe the rest will also be occupied by the end of the month,” he said, adding that the flea market was opened on the second week of this month.
Besides the business opportunities, Zaini said visitors to the area would also be entertained with musical performances during the weekends, as part of their aim to promote cultural activity.
He said a mini i-city was being created with the trees in the area decorated with LED lights.
“We have invested a substantial amount of money on the lighting attraction,” he said.
We always have wondered why such an obvious & significant public transport improvement has been largely ignored by the local government, state government and national government for 4 years.
The continued disgrace of the Klang Sentral and North Klang bus terminals reflects how poorly Malaysia and Malaysians understand public transport. For TRANSIT members this is truly humbling because we have been trying to raise awareness and encourage improvements to public transport for 4+ years.
TRANSIT wonders how the upcoming RapidBRT service on the Federal Highway (which is supposed to appear in 1-3 years) is going to happen if Klang Sentral remains closed. Indeed, TRANSIT has been recommending bus rapid transit service on the Federal Highway, NKVE and KESAS highways from Klang, as well as a bus-rapid transit line running from Meru (north, reaching the NKVE) through Klang town (and the Federal Highway) south to Bandar Bukit Tinggi (in the south, reaching the KESAS).
Our compromise position would revive the North Klang bus terminal, bring life back to Klang Sentral, provide better public transport service for the south side of Klang, and improved & fast bus connections to the rest of the Klang Valley.
To summarize, here is TRANSIT’s proposal for Klang
3 terminals (Klang, Meru, and Bukit Tinggi), serving
3 east-west corridors (NKVE, Federal Highway, KESAS), and
2 north-south corridors (Meru-Klang-Banting and Kapar-Klang-Kota Kemuning).
All services will be Bus Rapid Transit or Expressway Rapid Transit, with buses running in busways in the centre of major roads/expressways.
It is time for SPAD and the Selangor Government to step up and re-open the North Klang bus terminal, make Bus Rapid Transit possible on the Federal Highway, and introduce bus-expressway transit (BET) services on the NKVE and KESAS highways.
Or, they can sit back and let public transport languish, and watch Klang town descend into a place where no one dares to go.