ASIAN PROPERTY REVIEW took the opportunity to explore Chinatown, Masjid Jamek and Mid Valley City in Kuala Lumpur on the first day of the relaxed MCO in the capital city.
There was no traffic jam from Old Klang Road to Chinatown (Petaling Street) along Federal Highway at about 8am. Upon reaching Chinatown near the police station, there was ample parking.
We saw foreign workers lining up as part of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) before starting work at a construction site.
Many of the popular eateries were not open. Only a handful were open and most cater only for takeaways.
Those that allow dining-in were few and far between. We decided to try the famous Chee Cheong Fun and porridge stall which was only one out of 3 stalls that allows dine-in at that hour. SOP was followed diligently – our hands were sanitised, temperature taken and contact details taken. Even the tables were about 1 metre apart. We were informed by the owner that the shop was sanitised the day before.
Many of the other shops were not open at that time. But towards 1pm, more shops including clothing shops, moneychangers and the Kota Raya shopping mall were open.
While walking towards Masjid Jamek, a popular tourist spot, we noticed there weren’t many vehicles on the street nor people. Traffic from all directions were scarce.
‘NORMALCY’ AT MID VALLEY
We then drove to Mid Valley City to check out the scene. Fortunately, many more shops were open. Probably about 90% of the shops were open, thus giving a semblance of normalcy. Only the third floor was much quieter as the massage centre, games centre, multiplex cinema were closed.
Elsewhere on other floors, there were more people during lunchtime. Only a few eateries allowed dine-in. Most did not due to the additional SOP required or there wasn’t sufficient time to prepare for the table distancing, etc.
At every shop and at all the entrances to the mall, our temperature was taken, and we had to sanitise our hands. Social distancing was observed at some of the queues to popular shops like Apple and some eateries.
Lots of parking spaces were available indicating that many offices in Mid Valley have not opened yet and many people may be working from home still. The quiet scene could also be partly due to the fasting month when footfall is usually more subdued. It might also be due to more businesses having closed down, for example, the Esprit Group, and the rise in unemployment as a result.
In conclusion, we feel this is a good sign as there wasn’t any rush to get back to work or shop. We expect more offices and shops to open in the days ahead. States that have delayed opening their economy will start doing it soon too following the positive feedback in Kuala Lumpur.