A night market in the centre of Kuching city?

Posted on August 16, 2011


Sarawak Tourism Board's image of Pasar Malam in Sibu (for example purposes)

A Pasar Malam for Kuching sounds like a good idea, actually.

Judging from the popularity of night markets in the other towns in our State, I think it could work.

Or even the popularity of the ongoing Kuching Food Festival, which is sort of like a temporary Pasar Malam / food court kind of thing.

Let’s face it, sometimes there’s not much to be done in the middle of the city in the evenings as most Kuchingites would rather converge in the suburbs where the bigger shopping malls and collection of kopitiams are located.

The news article below cited the benefits for tourism as the main reason for setting up a night market in our capitol city (potentially at Carpenter St or Jln Main Bazaar), but I believe the real winners would be the small traders at this proposed Pasar Malam (and also the locals, who are just looking for something to do in the city!).

With more people in the city at night, businesses near the night market may even be tempted to extend their opening hours.

Of course, traffic congestion could be a minor inconvenience but personally I think it’s worth it.

I recalled reading an article earlier this month about our CM saying that Kuching must be a city with a soul.

It was actually a challenge posed to the two mayors of Kuching (Yes! Kuching has two mayors!) to make sure that our State capitol would always have the “human touch”.

This was to make sure that Kuchingites will always find their city to be “very liveable” (like soulful Paris) and have healthy interactions with other Kuchingites.

Maybe the Pasar Malam could be the beginning of better things to come as Kuchingites try to put some soul into their beloved city.


How BERNAMA reported it:


August 14, 2011

KUCHING, Aug 14 (Bernama) — A night market in the heart of Kuching is being proposed by the Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) to invigorate the city”s night life, with the end of the year targeted as the date of implementation.

STF president Audrey Wan Ullok said Carpenter Street and Jalan Main Bazaar near the Kuching Waterfront had been identified as the potential night market location.

“We are preparing a working paper and will submit it to State Tourism and Heritage Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg by next month,” she told Bernama today.

The STF was gathering feedback from the local council, traders and key tourism players, she said, adding that it was hoped the launch of the night market could coincide with the year-end school holidays.

The working paper would propose the setting up “halal” (permissible in Islam) and non-halal food stalls, handicraft stalls, Sarawak traditional cake or biscuits stalls, and food and drinks stalls.

“We are also proposing that cultural song and dance performances be held at the Kuching Waterfront theatre,” she said, adding that the night market would benefit small traders as well.

“The night market proposal was in response to the feedback we received from locals and tourists, that Kuching City needs to come up with activities at night, especially for those who have families, to boost its tourism image,” she said.

She said foreign tourists need not go far to enjoy Sarawak”s signature dishes like laksa as it would be available literally at their hotel doorstep as the proposed night market location was not far from the four- or five-star hotels.

“Look at Jonker Street in Melaka; we think that Sarawak can emulate that and further boost our tourism industry,” she said.

Audrey also expressed the concern of the tourism industry in the state on the impending increase in airport tax, saying the move would hurt the domestic tourism industry the most.

“For budget-conscious travellers, it would affect tourism as the cost of tourism packages to Sarawak would certainly be more expensive than before, especially for tourists from other states in the country,” she said.

She said the government must look into the impact on the tourism industry as well as other factors, such as the cost of air travel within Malaysia, before deciding to go ahead with the hike.

On Aug 11, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the airport tax or the passenger service charge would go up, with speculation rife that it would be raised from the present RM51 to RM65 for the 39 airports managed by Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

The tax for the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang was also likely to be increased, from the current RM25 to RM32.



Story earlier this month in The Borneo Post about Kuching’s soul-searching challenge:

Kuching to take a cue from Paris

Posted on August 2, 2011, Tuesday

Research to be conducted soon to ensure city has human touch as it continues to grow

KUCHING: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud yesterday pledged to allocate funds for research on how to turn Kuching into a ‘city with a soul’.

Speaking at the 23rd Commemoration of Kuching City yesterday, he posed the challenge to the two mayors of Kuching to find the ‘soul’ of Kuching so that it would not become failures like other big cities which lacked a human touch. He said Kuching should have a ‘soul’ to complement its status as state capital, administrative centre and hub of economic activities.

“Hopefully, we meet again on the 25th anniversary (of Kuching).

Tell me, the two Datuk Bandar (mayors), what is the soul of Kuching. If you need to study on it, I can give you the money,” he said.

Also present were newlyminted DBKU Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai and MBKS mayor James Chan.

Taib said he had been to Paris before and he described it as a city with a soul because the people there made the place very liveable.

“When I went to Paris the first time, I was so impressed with the spirit of manhood. People were greeting each other, making the place feel like a place to live and not only to stay … Paris has got soul.

That is why the song ‘I Love Paris’ is so popular with the French because they can feel Paris has got something special.

“I feel that Kuching too has the potential to be another Paris,” he said.

While he was astonished with population growth of the city from 200,000 to 630,000 at present, Taib said he was concerned with the lack of healthy interaction.

“We have a situation where the people do not even know their neighbours!”

As such, he suggested to developers of new housing projects to organise activities such as combined house-warming parties where the residents could get to know their neighbours and forge friendships.

“In our multi racial community, some people are shy to know each other.

If there is durian season, organise a combined party also, where the people can get together.

“That way there will be greater unity, friendship and eagerness to help one another.” Yesterday’s event saw the launching of the Kuching Festival to coincide with City Day which is celebrated every Aug 1.

Before that, the swearing in of Abang Wahap as the sixth commissioner of DBKU was held.  The invited guests included Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, Urban Development and Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and Public Health and Environment Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

Also there were State Secretary Datuk Amar Morshidi Ghani, State Legislative Assembly speaker Dato Sri Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, assistant ministers and senior government officers.

ENJOYING THE SHOW: Taib (second right), Chan (first right) and Abang Wahap (first left) looking at the release of balloons to mark the City Day celebrations. Also in the photo are Taib’s wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi, Jabu (second left) and Masing.