If you drive past McDonald’s Gunung Rapat, you will notice a rather tall, run-down building otherwise known as Megoplex. It is a shopping mall built during a time when shopping complexes were the in-thing in the country, thus the name. The cost of the building must have been pretty huge considering its size and location.
The proximity of the mall to a predominantly Malay area – Gunung Rapat – was obvious. It was to provide space for Malay entrepreneurs to conduct retail businesses in a conducive atmosphere.
The project was undertaken by the Perak State Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), the forerunner of present Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak (PKNP). Megoplex began its operations on July 4, 1999.
Ipoh Echo visited the place recently to find out about its status following rumours that it would be shut soon largely due to profitability reasons.
At 5pm, Megoplex was empty. Two stalls were open while the rest of the place was dark and deserted.
Rosli and his wife, Hazizah binti Idim spoke to this scribe and revealed a story of betrayal, mistrust and courage.
According to Rosli, six months ago, tenants received an evacuation notice, and were told to vacate the building within a month and a half. They were told to move their business to Silveritage Ipoh, and were given some money, and a shop lot each.
When inquired about the poor state of the building, Rosli revealed that the building was under the care of PKNP and, technically, is under direct control of the Menteri Besar’s office.
The state corporation had intended on selling the building.
“When you rent your house, you only earn between RM500 and RM600 a month. When you sell it, you get more. That’s the premise,” he reasoned.
Rosli added that when the Zambry government refused to help them, he approached the opposition. After successfully rallying the opposition’s support, the government relented and allowed them to stay but on one condition – they had to survive with whatever they already had. No extras and no additional funding.
“They took away the chairs from the food court. They warned tenants that business would fizzle out and staying there was pointless. Many of the traders took heed and left.
“Having no other place to move to, I stayed on. I shoulder the responsibilities of maintaining this place, as there is no one here to help me. Some days, I become the cleaner too,” he said.
Rosli and his wife held a meeting with the other tenants, hoping they would stay on and provide the support he needed.
“We met four times but it was futile. They wanted out.”
Currently, most of the shops are empty. Those who have moved out use their stores as storage rooms.
Rosli said tenants doubted his ability to put up a fight, as he is a retiree and is no longer in the best of health.
“But age is not an excuse, Tun M is 93, just look at him.”
After months of running up and down to meet various state assemblymen, Rosli succeeded. He showed a file filled with written applications for tenancy in the food court.
“We only have 19 stalls, but I’ve 40 applications. I managed to narrow them down, but we’ll see how things go,” he said, beaming with pride.
Business should be up and running by next month, according to him. His wife, Hazizah added that they are waiting for PKNP to hand over the keys.