A woman waits for customers at Pasar Payang. The stall owners had hoped for a boom with an influx of outsiders but this has yet to happen.
KUALA TERENGGANU (NST): They sat hunched and dejected, swatting flies absent-mindedly as they waited for the next customer. The hundreds of stall owners at the sprawling Pasar Payang market had hoped for a sudden boom with the influx of outsiders but most were disappointed.
“Look around. This place is as silent as a graveyard,” said Mohd Johari Jaafar who sells salted fish.
He believes that the quiet atmosphere is due to people tightening their purse strings because of the sluggish economy.
“Based on past elections, business should be better. There are more people but not many are buying, that is the problem. It was only busy during nomination day,” he bemoaned.
But Johari has his fingers crossed that business will pick up when the campaign intensifies just before polling day.
His hopes are echoed by 50-year-old drink seller Safri Jalil.
“I’m sure there will be more people on polling day,” he said smiling, while hoping that Jan 17 will be a sunny day so that people “will buy my cold drinks”.
The only traders whose business has improved slightly are the keropok lekor and batik sellers.
Batik seller Ahmad Ridzuan, 30, said this could be because they were Terengganu’s most popular items.
“There are lots of window-shoppers but there are many who buy batik, too. They say it is beautiful,” he said.
Just like Johari and Safri, he expects outsiders to throng Pasir Payang next week, bringing in the windfall that they are all praying for