Traders Express Discontent as Little India’s Deepavali Bazaar is No Longer a Shopping Paradise and Profits Decline

By: Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali

IPOH – Little India, once hailed as the ‘shopping paradise’ and the preferred choice for the Indian community leading up to Deepavali, now grapples with declining footfall and diminishing profits.

This bitter reality is particularly hard to accept for traders, especially those continuing family legacies. Their businesses are on a downward spiral, struggling to turn a profit.

  1. Mathialagan, 61, the second-generation heir to a family business since 1900, stated that Little India’s current decline in popularity is not only due to present circumstances but also the misguided decisions of the Little India Traders Association (ILIT) Ipoh management.

“Among the current factors influencing the decline in business in Little India is the competition from external traders setting up shop across various locations, including supermarkets around Ipoh. They sell at lower prices, even though the quality of goods is the same.

“Heavy evening rains throughout the past week, since the start of the Deepavali bazaar, have deterred shoppers.

The number of visitors can be counted on fingers, and this is extremely disheartening for us.

“The ILIT’s decision not to allow the sale of firecrackers and fireworks, despite meeting government regulations, is disappointing. I’ve invested nearly RM50,000 in purchasing fireworks.

“The association also imposes high tent rental fees, amounting to RM1,500 for a canopy. I’ve rented five canopies, and apart from selling festive necessities, I had planned to sell fireworks, but unfortunately, ILIT didn’t permit it,” he shared with Ipoh Echo/Peraktastic during an interview at his business premises today.

He expressed frustration with ILIT’s actions, stating that they informed traders of any decisions at the last minute, including the sudden ban on the sale of firecrackers and fireworks.

Additionally, he added that ILIT management has so far failed to maintain Little India as a shopping hub that was once popular, especially around Deepavali.

“Little India remains unchanged, with no development, especially in infrastructure facilities such as increasing streetlights and beautifying the environment. Little India is now increasingly dim and lacklustre,” he remarked.

Another trader, Ranjini Letcumanan, 57, mentioned that public participation this year is significantly lower compared to previous years.


“This year, Little India is not as lively as in previous years. Perhaps economic factors and high prices make people more cautious about spending.

“The most noticeable competition comes from online businesses like Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok, offering a variety of low-priced options. This competition significantly impacts traders like us.

“I haven’t raised my selling prices; in fact, I offer discounts, but there’s still no response. Getting a return on investment is very difficult, especially with the high cost of tent rentals,” she said, who has been in the clothing business for 13 years.

  1. Deenu, 33, a visitor from Air Tawar, expressed that he still finds shopping in Little India comfortable despite increasing business competition.

“Every year, I make it a point to visit Little India for Deepavali preparations. What I need is available here, making it very convenient with many options.

“Although prices have indeed risen compared to previous years, I allocate a sufficient budget every year to avoid wasteful spending and manage my finances.

“I hope the economy will recover next year, and commodity prices will decrease. The government needs to be considerate of the B40 group to ease their financial burden in shopping,” he added.

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