M'sian traders feel shortchanged

Kota Baru (The Star/ANN) - Zahari Othman, 53, started his restaurant with big dreams, ploughing a lot of money into his business and renting a shoplot in Lembah Sireh for 2,000 ringgit (US$645) a month. Three years later, he realised he had gone in blind. Business has been poor.

"Before I rented this place I was impressed with the promise of massive development.

"But after sometime, I realised that nothing is happening with Kelantan River Bank Development project except for the hypermarket, main bus station and some shoplots.

"Those who visit the hypermarket will eat there.

"I really wonder when the promised infrastructure will come and help improve my business," said Zahari, whose restaurant is at the ground floor of a three-storey shoplot.

There are many others like him who feel shortchanged after buying or renting the expensive shoplots with the promise by the developer to build the integrated infrastructure that promised 2,400 shop-offices, a hotel, a golf course, luxury apartments and residential houses.

Now, the business community and people within the Lembah Sireh main business centre that began seven years ago doubt that the whole project can be completed by 2015.

A businessman who manages a locksmith booth at the hypermarket, Nik Mohd Tarmizi, 25, said business was slow and people only frequent the hypermarket.

"This area is simply dead after the hypermarket closes by 10pm. It is deserted at night because people have no reason to come here except to shop at the hypermarket.

Hypermarket patron Rosilawati Yaacob, 38, from Bachok about 30km from here, said the hypermarket was the only reason for her to visit the area.

"Apart from the shoplots, people come here to buy textile. Most of them are from the private medical college and Mara Polytechnic College. Apart from that, there is nothing else," she said.

Both the medical college and the polytechnic operate out of the shoplots.

Visitor Ramli Ahmad, 45, was disappointed with the infrastructure in the area.

"The only attraction for me here is a floating restaurant that is well-lit at night. The rest of the area, including the shoplots, are closed by 10pm.

"I believe people do not come here except to buy daily produce at the hypermarket," he said.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 1 hour 35 minutes ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 2 hours 31 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 5 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.