KUALA TERENGGANU: A NARROW path between rows of small shop lots selling textiles in the popular Pasar Payang has all the elements of a fire trap.
Walking along the narrow passages on the first floor of the building, designed in the mid 1960s, has become more uncomfortable for bargain hunters, many who likened it to walking into a sauna.
Now, after 50 years, Pasar Payang, popular for its batik and kain songket, can no longer cope with the increasing number of visitors, especially during weekends.
“When it was opened in the late 1960s to replace Pasar Tanjung, Pasar Payang became a must stop for travellers.
“Then the crowd was manageable, but as it popularity grew and more outsiders stopped over, this place has become too congested,” said Daud Mohamad, 71, a pensioner from Kampung Tanjung.
Daud said he had seen how Pasar Payang progressed and believed that it was about time that the state government redeveloped the area to turn it into a modern shopping centre while retainining the old façade.
“If you walk along the textile shops on the first floor, you will definitely sweat. The ventilation is poor and the dry materials are a potential fire hazard.
“We also do not know how reliable are the electric cables after 50 years,” he added.
Daud said three years ago, the state government had plans to redevelop Pasar Payang and turn it into a modern shopping complex complete with a hotel and parking area.
While the public welcomed the proposal, some businesses, especially operators at the wet market, were against it.
“If the traders want to remain as they are now, they will lose their customers because these visitors have a choice to shop in Kelantan, which has redeveloped its traditional market place.
“As it is, parking is a major problem at Pasar Payang,” he said, adding that the state government needed to be firm when deciding on development.