Rental hikes and lack of parking bays a bane in Little India

By G Vinod | Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: After the pomp and pagentry at the launch of ‘Little India’ in Brickfields on Oct 27, the lights have dimmed and a pall of gloom has decended in the area.

Traders and businessmen at the 3km stretch of Brickfields are at crossroads with the prospect of ‘impending’ rental hikes and dwindling sales due to the absence of car parks.

Several businessmen voiced their frustration over these two issues which could hamper trade in the bustling area, where one could purchase almost all items found in India.

While an increase in rental could slice profits significantly, the lack of parking space could inflict severe damage to their business, which they claim had already been battered.

Sampoorna Curry House owner, S Thilagavathy, 30, said the lack of parking is likely keep away many customers and cut into her profits by at least 30%.

“DBKL had informed us through the Brickfields Business Community Council (BCC) that we will have car parks right in front of our premises.

“I have enquired about this consistently and they have said it will be erected soon,” said Thilagavathy.

When asked if she was told by DBKL when the the car parks will be built, Thilagavathy claimed that she was not informed of a time frame.

She said space was scarce in the area, but for unknown reasons, the authorities, decided to have huge pavements for pedestrians which she said was unnecessary.

“The space could have been used to erect parking bays. I believe DBKL took the BBC for a ride,”claimed Thilagavathy.

Another restaurant owner, M Prema (left), 40, who owns Seetharam Curry House said her revenue had dropped by almost 50% since parking bays were done away in the vicinity.

“We were initially promised car parks by DBKL but nothing has come forth,” she said, hoping that business would pick-up soon.

Pending rental hikes sends jitters

A saree businessman, P Loganathan, 45, the owner Saradha Silks (M) Sdn Bhd, however, said car parks were not the only issue plaguing the business community there.

“There is talk that building owners may hike up rentals after Deepavali,” said Loganathan who is also a tenant at his business premise.

He claimed that he had learnt that shop building owners were planning to increase rentals to a minimum RM30,000 for the ground floor, from the current RM10,000.

“I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with the hike,” said Loganathan, who claimed the move was attributed to the RM35 million facelift to the area to attract more tourists.

The gaily decorated shops, stall owners and small time business people had to contend with the fact that their makeshift stalls lacked basic amenities such as proper drainage.

“When it rains, it floods our stalls and there is no room for the water to flow,” said R Devi,22, who owns a stall at the hawkers corner.

She also lamented the fact that when they were moved to the new location, facilities such as safety grills and canopies were not provided.

“I spent RM2,500 to fix a shutter for my stall. I mentioned this to Saravanan (Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being deputy minister) but nothing was done,” said Devi (right).

The same frustration was also echoed by R Mahendran, 39, who owns Tarani Food Corner.

“We pooled money and fixed the ventilation fans, grills and canopies ourselves,” said Mahendran.

Both stall owners added that they suffered a dip in their revenue since they moved to the makeshift stalls.

“In my old place, I used to make about RM200 just by selling ‘vadai’ alone. Now, even if I see RM10 profit a day is a good thing,” said Devi.

Mahendran, on the other hand, said he used to earn about RM2,500 in profits monthly but now it had been reduced to about RM1,500.

“DBKL has promised that they will start erecting a permanent stall for me near my old place after Deepavali,” said an optimistic Mahendran.

FMT failed to reach DBKL for comments despite numerous attempts.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 3:23 pm

    Well, you all know what to do come the 13 GE—- change the federal govt so that the above nonsense will not be repeated.

  2. #2 by dawsheng on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 3:56 pm

    If I say all the traders are a bunch of stupid greedy pathetic Indians who are asking for it some of you might get angry but go ahead, get angry.

  3. #3 by Loh on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 4:05 pm

    I would not be proud of the little India if I were Indian. It shows that other than the little India, Indians have no stake in the country. Whatever have been built do not add value to Bricksfield. The one way street created there make it difficult for students and teachers to attend schools. Soon the school will be relocated. In its place high rise buildings will be there. That could be the ultimate aim.

  4. #4 by DAP man on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 4:32 pm

    Indian Malaysian can only improve their lot if they unite to boot out BN and MIC.

  5. #5 by dawsheng on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 4:38 pm

    What did Indians do when Manmohan Singh came to visit? They crowded around and watch! What for? No Indians know. Seriously, what and how Indians in this country think is mind-boggling.

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 4:40 pm

    Traders there can keep voting 4 UmnoB-MIC-BN n enjoy shaking hands of NR n she-PM when they visit Little India
    Traders there can keep being syiok n paying high rentals lah
    DBKL n KL Mayor will happily squeeze them dry

  7. #7 by omeqiu on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 4:48 pm

    Isn’t the Little India created to lure tourists?Just hope that the tourists come by taxis. And the rich come by chauffer-driven cars.You poor locals are not needed. Eat your hearts out!

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 5:17 pm

    I think the compliant is that the authorities including DBKL, in spite of years of town planning and management experience, have not thought through a “win win” solution when everyone suddenly rushed to develop “Little India” in Brickfields.

    Adjacent to commercial and transportation hub KL Sentral, prices of land/property in Little India already going up. Then suddenly the powers-that-be have a brain wave to have PM designate and gazette it as “Little India” in so called recognition of the Indian community’s contributions to nation building.

    So they spend money in beautifying that place, installing artifacts, lightings, planning ramps, re-routing traffic by flyovers to alleviate traffic congestion. It has become something like a heritage site – like China Town in Petaling Street top the Chinese. It helps to garner Indian votes. It also helps tourism.

    The problem is that property prices there rise – RM50 to RM700 per square foot….
    The owners of properties are more than happy because inflation of asset values due to development.

    Indian owners of residential properties will probably complain less as their property values also go up. Maybe they complain the access and exit blocked by traffic congestion. This is because people from outside brickfields are also going there to see what “Little India” could offer.

    But those who do the “offering” of goods, food and merchandise are petty traders. They don’t own the “commercial” properties. The owners of commercial properties at least along the main roads are by majority not Indians. I think they are Chinese! (The area was initially developed by Yap Kwan Seng, the fifth and last Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur.)

    These landlords naturally raise their rent. They compare yields. They factor in commercial considerations of rise in price of real estae there. With renewed interest they can re-develop their shop lots.

    The petty traders and hawkers – mostly Indians- all got hit by rising rental and shortage of car parks for their customers that erode their profits. They feel their interest is neglected. They are at the raw end of this bargain and hype about “Little India”. The irony is that they – the petty traders and hawkers- are the principal parties that give flavour to Little India. They ask, “what is the objective of the brickfields little India development if they affected traders reap the most disadvantages out of the development?

    I don’t know to what extent the situation is parallel to the other “Little India” in Masjid India. It is rather unexpected but true that per square foot, it is one of the most expensive land in KL. Equvalent to almost the area around Twin Tower! But there its more or less already a pedestrian mall and probably (I venture to speculate, as I am not sure) there are more Indians, Indian Muslims owing commercial properties in Masjid India.

  9. #9 by setu on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 5:30 pm

    don’t be surprised, do a survey / analysis with other areas, will it be the place with the highest headache, crime rate, accidents, traffic summons, parking summons, etc. ‘cos all the local authorities
    like to do is to conc. in this area, issue illegal parking summons

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 5:44 pm

    All part of the BN’s ‘progress’. It comes at a huge cost.

    The Elephant Fountain broke down. Water seepage. Cheap paint washing off. Najib’s Corner is now Najib’s Conjob.

    Its all “Hollywood Stuff” where everything is but temporary, not made to last but to fool people.

    The people of Little India have been conned big time. Sweet talk has now turned sour.

    Maybe ‘Big India’ can help ‘Little India’.

  11. #11 by Raja Chulan on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 7:32 pm

    I visited the place. I can tell you that the improvement/ upgrading done is not worth RM35.0 million. Perhaps maximum RM10.0 only. Where the rest of the money went? Someone doing another Samy Vellu there!!

    The place, including the back lane is so filty- literally human and dog shit everywhere. Almost all the eateries are damm dirty and worse than many in Chennai and Bangladesh that I have visited. Yak!!!

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 - 1:01 am

    Is dis d place where ppl think of red light district, rooms rented by d hour or minutes 4 barter trades

  13. #13 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 - 8:05 am

    ///the lights have dimmed and a pall of gloom has descended in the area.///

    “Little India” is full of vampires and blood-suckers. The greedy rich want more from the petty traders and hawkers by raising rentals beyond the reach of many. How can business thrive in this area?

  14. #14 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 - 11:35 pm

    Our only hope is the majority of Indians is not carried away by this tokenism.

  15. #15 by dagen on Thursday, 18 November 2010 - 9:00 am

    Cintanegara would say that indians ought to be grateful for what umno has done in beautifying the area. So in short he would say “shut the hell up”.

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