Once upon a time Ipoh Town used to be very vibrant and alive in the evenings. There were street hawkers all over New Town and Old Town. People would go around looking for food and many shops would stay open up to 9pm.
Today, apart from Little India, most of Old Town would be very quiet after 6pm. New Town is not much different.
To bring the Ipoh City Centre back to life again, may I suggest that the Kinta River be developed as follows:
The Kinta River from the Indian Temple along Jalan Raja Musa Aziz (Anderson Road) to the Malay Commercial area in Jalan Datoh / Jalan Perhentian be dredged (to 4-5 feet deep); both sides of the river bank be developed with proper walkways, bicycle tracks, landscaped with the right trees and shrubs with benches and pergolas and sufficiently lighted. The Police or Rela may be appointed to patrol the area to keep the peace and security.
Starting from the area around the Indian Temple, YMCA and Bandar Istana along Jalan Raja Musa Aziz may be transformed into a themed ‘Indian Village’. Everything Indian could be sold and promoted there. Weekly cultural shows showcasing the various Indian communities could be promoted on a stage to be built there. Taman DR and Bandar Istana may even come alive at night as a result.
The area along and in front of the Riverfront Hotel right up to Jalan Sultan Idris Shah (Brewster Road), already partially developed, may be further developed and turned into a ‘Global Village’. Everything local and international could be promoted at this location; including the arts, music and songs, food and everything entertaining. Weekly concerts may also be promoted.
Further down the river behind Jalan Laxamana to the Jalan Sultan Iskandar Bridge and People’s Park (Hugh Low Street); this area could be developed into a ‘Chinese Village’. At this site, everything Chinese could be promoted and sold here, including weekly cultural shows, art, food and concerts.
And finally towards the Jalan Datoh end, we could turn this place into a ‘Malay Cultural Centre’. Everything Malay could be promoted at this place. Handicraft, food, art, history and weekly dance performances and cultural shows may be made available here.
At every Village, a pier on both sides of the river for people to embark and disembark to be built for visitors to get on and off from 25-foot flat bottom boats which will be sailing from one end to the other ferrying people from one village to another to enjoy the various arts and performances, food and crafts of our diverse cultures.
This project is expected to provide many business and employment opportunities for Ipoh residents. This will also attract tourists to spend more time and money in Ipoh.
The tender for this project could be distributed to the different cultures respectively. They could submit their proposals and costs to be evaluated to find the best value for the developer, operator, tenants and visitors. The river and the banks on both sides to be maintained by the DID and DBI.
I believe this project, if managed and operated properly, will bring Ipoh City back to life again and many Ipohites would gain from its revival. This will also bring the people closer together to understand and enjoy each other’s culture and promote muhibbah.
Of course what I have proposed is just an outline, an idea. More brainstorming needs to be carried out to fine tune this project and establish the cost. I shall be most happy to contribute to make Ipoh a better place for all.
People of Ipoh, what do you think?
Cheah Kok Wah