KUALA LUMPUR - In spite of criticism from certain quarters, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has confirmed that the project to upgrade and beautify Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur will go ahead as planned.
He said the move should be seen in a positive light as it would help to further promote the city's Golden Triangle and attract more tourists.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, meanwhile, said the cooperation of all involved was important to resolve problems and make the area a better place for all.
He had announced on Aug 22 that the project costing RM12million (S$4.9 million) to turn Jalan Alor into a food paradise of international standards would begin in October and be completed within 11 months.
He had said that none of the residents of the more than 200 apartments and 100 traders in the area would be displaced by the project.
Following a local daily's commentary objecting to the nature of the project, Malaysians are reacting with mixed views.
But the one thing that everyone agreed on was that Jalan Alor was in dire need of another facelift for the sake of hygiene in the area.
"Honestly, Jalan Alor badly needs an upgrade as the area looks run-down. A cleaner and better lit street will certainly attract more tourists," said global banking support executive Matthew Ong.
Although Jalan Alor is being promoted as a night food paradise, the local daily had being referred to the project as a "Chinese food paradise", as Jalan Alor is known for being a predominantly Chinese area.
"Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, so it is definitely better if this tourist hotspot had more than just Chinese food," said accountant Siti Nur Harini.
"As long as all racial sensitivities are seen to, everyone will be happy. For me, hygiene is a more important issue," she added.
Student and freelance writer Jasmine Saw agreed that a multi-cultural food hub would be great, but a lot of aspects had to be worked out in order to establish one.
"For this to work, we need a lot of tolerance and a united Malaysian mindset, as well as exceptional hygiene control," said Saw.
"Although upgrading works are important, I hope that they are not planning on replacing the roadside stall experience with something like a food court," said Patrick Archibald, a financial planner.
When contacted, Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun said Jalan Alor was vital to tourism, citing that tourists had spent a total of RM60bil in the area last year.