New Straits Times

KUANTAN MARA DIGITAL MALL IN SORRY STATE

Only 2 traders left as most have moved out due to slow business

- AMIN RIDZUAN ISHAK cnews@nstp.com.my

THE Bumiputera gadget and informatio­n technology equipment centre (Mara Digital) at Plaza Gambut here, which was launched more than a year ago, is now hovering between life and death.

It was launched with full fanfare by then rural and regional developmen­t minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in October last year. It housed 18 dealers who sold telecommun­ications, digital and informatio­n technology (IT) products, including smartphone­s and their accessorie­s.

A New Straits Times Press (NSTP) survey recently found it to be in a sad state of affairs, with only two dealers operating; selling smartphone accessorie­s and another selling camera equipment.

It is learnt that traders at the centre had started vacating since last month due to a lack of customers and problems with the centre’s management.

KVK Gajet owner Raja Zulkarnain Raja Hussain said he had to scale down operations to reduce costs. He had opened another shop at Mahkota Centre nearby.

“The centre was only alive for the first four months after its launch. But now, sales have dropped, which in turn, see traders moving out.

“The centre has problems attracting customers as it concentrat­es only on selling a single item — handphones — and their accessorie­s. There is no other services like repairing handphones or selling computers.

“People want everything (IT and other gadgets). Thus, they go elsewhere,” he told NSTP.

He said many traders at the centre were outsiders, especially from Kuala Lumpur, thus limiting the opportunit­y for local entreprene­urs.

“They came here to do business, but when they saw there was no response, they moved out.

“I believe local entreprene­urs may find ways to survive as this is their hometown.

“I hope this would be taken into account if the government changes the concept of Mara Digital Kuantan in the future.”

He said he was contacted by representa­tives from Pahang Mara, who wanted to revive the centre so that it could become the focus of the public and achieve its objective of generating Bumiputera entreprene­urs in the digital and ICT markets.

“The Mara Digital Centre in Kuantan has great potential because of its strategic location and it is equipped with parking facilities.”

 ?? MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL PIC BY ?? A man walking past empty shops in Mara Digital in Kuantan.
MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL PIC BY A man walking past empty shops in Mara Digital in Kuantan.

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