Plaza Dataran Merdeka, neither dead nor alive

KUALA LUMPUR: Plaza Dataran Merdeka is not a new tourism destination in the capital city of Malaysia.

It was previously known as Plaza Putra before the floods inundated it more than 10 years ago.
However, the rebirth of the Plaza in 2012 was not known to many.

Though the façade has changed with many new shops, breathing new life into its strategic location, it still unfortunately fails to bring in visitors.

Plaza Dataran Merdeka, neither dead nor alive. - Astro AWANI

As if plagued by its watery history, many tourists let alone residents of Kuala Lumpur, do not know that Plaza Dataran Merdeka has existed since two years ago.
The empty halls of Plaza Dataran Merdeka. - Astro AWANI

Astro AWANI visited the premises on Saturday and found there were less than 10 visitors at the Plaza and only a few shops were open.

It was eerily quiet although it is situated just below the bustling Dataran Merdeka.

Many visitors to Dataran Merdeka admitted that they did not know the existence of Plaza Dataran Merdeka and that it is open to visitors.
Plaza Dataran Merdeka is situated just below the bustling Dataran Merdeka. - Astro AWANI

A private college student who refused to be named, said one of the major factors that it is not well known is due to lack of promotion.

“We don’t know there is a new plaza. We thought it was still closed since after the floods.

“It is also quite hidden and there are no sign boards around Dataran Merdeka that directs us to the plaza,” he said.
The lack of visitors to Plaza Dataran Merdeka may be due to the lack of promotion. - Astro AWANI

The Plaza was once very vibrant with many restaurants and gift shops and even a theatre and exhibition space.

Plaza Dataran Merdeka was brought back to life by the Yasmin Group with an investment of more than RM25 million for its reconstruction.

Yasmin Group was previously reported as only intending to spend RM3 million to promote the 27,870 square-foot plaza.

With such a big investment and the rebirth of a new location, its sad to note that the premises might be closed in the future if nothing is done to promote the Plaza.
Only empty halls fill Plaza Dataran Merdeka. - Astro AWANI

As the curtain closes on Visit Malaysia Year 2014 in four months, it  is one of the risks traders will face when ensuring the space is preserved and becomes a tourism hot spot.

Unfortunately, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has not responded to Astro AWANI’s request for a statement on this issue.