KUALA LUMPUR – During Ramadan al-Mubarak, Jalan Masjid India, Jalan Bunus 6, and Lorong Tunku Abdul Rahman (Lorong TAR), located side-by-side in the heart of Kuala Lumpur (KL), petty traders operating at the ‘bazaar’ lots in the area are actually sitting on a ‘gold mine’.
Small business entrepreneurs are able to earn thousands of ringgit, with some becoming millionaires by the end of Ramadan because of the lucrative income from their sales being that more than half a million people converged to the area during the month for their Aidilfitri shopping.
And because of that, greedy individuals capitalise on the bazaar lots for quick profits by getting as many lots as they could from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and then renting them out to local and foreign traders to up to 70 times the amount they paid to City Hall.
Based on observation and checks by Bernama, some petty traders running clothing, food and beverage, and electronics business, are renting the Ramadan bazaar lots, measuring about 100 sq ft for at least RM20,000, while the rate imposed by DBKL is between RM350 and RM700 depending on the lot size, and the amount includes license fee and cleaning-up charges.
The lots are allotted to traders through ballot system.
The question is why are some traders willing to rent the lots at such high rate when high-end shopping malls which are equipped with an air-conditioning, with comfortable environment and bigger lots can be rented for between RM5,000 and RM10,000 a month for a 300 sq ft lot.
A trader, Ahmad Fauzi, said he is renting the business lot at Jalan Masjid India, measuring 100 sq ft, for RM27,000 throughout Ramadan and he has no qualm paying the high rental .
He said he could make profit of nearly RM150,000 from his “baju Raya” business just ffrom the sale during the Ramadan month.
He claimed that last year, he was able to earn nearly half-a-million ringgit from sale made at three lots and there were a few traders who were able to make sale of up to RM1 million during the one-month business.
“Here, it is like a gold mine, good sales as many people come here. That is why traders don’t care about the high rental,” he said.
Another trader operating at Lorong TAR who wanted to be known only as Maziah said she was able to earn nearly RM50,000 during Ramadan last year selling raya cookies at a 64 sq ft bazaar lot which she rented for RM10,000.
Although the rent was unreasonable, she said, the return from her investment was remarkable.
“I have been doing business for more than 10 years here. People arrive non-stop, that is why traders are willing to pay the high rental, although the amount seems unreasonable,” she said.
On the possibility of action by the authorities as she is not the registered trader for the lost, Maziah said :”After we pay, we can continue doing our business as usual because everything has been taken care of by the registered trader of the lot”.
Another trader, but who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that at some locations at Jalan TAR, the lots are rented out for as high as RM40,000 during Ramadan month, and the amount included “protection fee” to pay off gangsters to safeguard their presence there.
According to DBKL. it is an offence of traders who are given the bazaar lots to rent it out to others, where by those caught doing so would have their names blacklisted. They would also be issued compound of RM1,000 and their goods would be seized.
DBKL has allotted only 400 Ramadan bazaar lots this year, from 500 lots in previous years. – BERNAMA