"The tourists who frequented the place should be used as the channel to introduce the various culture and arts of Malaysia's multi-racial society. Otherwise, Petaling Street – and even Kuala Lumpur – will be known to the world as an 'imitation city."
“We do not want such a negative trademark for our nation's capital."
“As such, the ministry is thinking of ways to change the image of Petaling Street," Rais Yatim said.
There is one thing for certain; convert Petaling Street by building shopping complexes or putting up exclusive & beautiful stores with marble and granite finishes, and you will find that 90% of the customers and visitors will be gone, forever and ever.
The Ministers just don't understand reality and never learnt from their mistakes. In Tampoi, Johor, a morning market place where many thousands visit everyday until the State govt build shophouses to replace them, and the retailers went bankrupt or for those smarties, they migrated their business to another wet market area. In various other places where the govt tried to upgrade the places by building nice and beautiful stores and shops, they too failed. Probably you can understand why Mamak shops are so successful; the customers love to sit on the sidewalk and drink teh-tarik and watch football, the English Premier League and European cup. I'm sure most if not all of them have nice TV at home, nice sofa settee and air-conditioned. Yet they prefer to be at Mamak stalls; it's never because of the food... mamak food are hell of expensive and full of ajinomoto.
Firstly, it is cultural for most Malaysians that they prefer the old ways, something we call ChinaTown style. People love to shop in Chinatown because they have fun and it trills. They enjoy the kind of atmosphere where there's a bit of rowdiness and loud bargaining. Even the foreigners love the atmosphere and the lifestyles. In fact, tourist visited Petaling Steet to shop those imitation products and to take photos. If they wanted genuine products, there's plenty in their own country and maybe, far more brands and better quality. They just love the atmosphere and the imitations products, and that's probably the only reason they are in Petaling Street.
Dr Rais, if you don't know how to enjoy the streetlife, then just stay at your palace and leave the Chinatown as it is. We thank you for doing nothing ... just collect your paycheque and make some money while you are still a minister.