Avid shoppers enjoy empty roads and quiet malls in Malaysia during Hari Raya

Avid shoppers enjoy empty roads and quiet malls in Malaysia during Hari Raya
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUALA LUMPUR- The silence during the "Raya weekend" in the city was in complete contrast to the usual crowd and traffic.

Mall goers and avid shoppers told The Star how it was a "breeze" to get to places and get things done, with most Malaysians celebrating the weekend in their hometowns.

Tuition teacher Joanne Lim, 47, for instance, said it took her only took 20 minutes to get to Mid Valley Megamall from Subang Jaya.

"On a usual weekend, around 11.30am on a Sunday, it would take me about 45 minutes to an hour.

"Even shopping could be done very quickly as the number of people was significantly smaller than any other time," she said, adding that it was the first time she noticed such a vast difference during Hari Raya.

She said she was only used to seeing empty roads during the Chinese New Year holidays.

Photographer G. Pratab, 26 said his journey was shortened by at least 50 minutes.

"I live in Sungai Buloh, and coming to Kuala Lumpur on a normal weekend would take me about 90 minutes.

"This time, I got here in 40 minutes," he said, adding that "an empty mall felt weird".

"It is nice, as you can move around without bumping into each other at every turn," he added.

Shopping malls in Petaling Jaya also saw fewer people with numerous parking spaces available.

For some vendors, the weekend was not that quiet.

Restaurant manager Alvin Ku, 34 said his restaurant saw almost twice the number of customers last weekend.

"I think it is because it was a holiday and since the roads were free and parking was not a hassle, people went out to have a meal.

"On average, we see about 200 to 300 customers a day, but that number shot up to almost double last weekend," said Ku.

For manager Ahmad Shafeeq Ahmad Tarmizi, 22, however, the situation in his shoe store was far from crowded.

"On an average weekend we get about 50 to 60 customers here, but last weekend, the number dropped to 20 to 30 people at most," he said, adding that he would only head off for his holidays after the sixth day of Raya.

Kuala Lumpur Staff Officer for Traffic Investigation and Regulation Deputy Supt Markandan Subra­maniam said traffic flow was smooth throughout the weekend.

"There was no congestion, but we are expecting traffic to slowly build up," he said.

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