KUALA TERENGGANU – The mention of Pasar Besar Kedai Payang (Pasar Payang) and almost any residents here would have fond memories of their visits to the central market and the thousands of items on display including batik, silk and songket to entice customers.
Nonetheless, the facade of Pasar Payang as a state icon will be transforming soon, after the state government decided to demolish the building constructed in 1968 to replace the market with more modern, comfortable and visitor-friendly premises in April.
All traders have been ordered to move in stages to another building located about 80m from the original building and the new RM50 million Pasar Payang will be ready in two years.
A Bernama observation at the market located at the centre of Kuala Terengganu beside Sungai Terengganu found traders expressing mixed feelings about leaving the place they have fond memories especially the original traders.
Ibrahim Jusoh, 65, who has been trading there since the 60’s said Pasar Payang reached its heydays in the 80’s when it was a major attraction for local and foreign tourists.
He said, the market was the site for more than 500 mostly Malay traders to find a living in the past 51 years as the building went through several structural changes.
“Before the present market complex was built, Pasar Payang was made up of a row of small wooden shops selling essential goods while a corner was occupied by several vegetable and fruit sellers.
“It was in 1964 when a proper building was constructed as a market to house traders from Tanjung central market which was demolished. The name Kedai Payang was retained to preserve the history of the original site,” he told Bernama.
Ibrahim also recalled starting business when he was nine by helping his mother to sell chicken feed such as corn, husk and padi.
According to him, the situation was very different then as there were only 70 to 80 traders with some of them coming occasionally to sell kueh, vegetables and fruits.
However, after sometime, more and more traders came in and the types of goods also shifted to wet goods, batik, songket, copper ware and so on.
“In the course of my business here, there were three or four shiftings due to upgrading works to expand the Pasar Payang building.
“In fact, there was a clock tower at the entrance of Pasar Payang,” said Ibrahim who is still keeping old photographs of Pasar Payang for remembrance.
It was even more nostalgic that Pasar Payang was officiated by Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin on Aug 31 1968 who was the fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Another original trader there, Ibrahim Mohamad, 75, said he remembered the hustle and bustle of place with many people moving goods from the boats to the market.
Starting with the pay as a labourer, Ibrahim dabbled into selling fruits which helped him to feed his family of 15 children.
“Around 1960’s to early the 80’s, boats were the main mode of transport in communities such Paloh, Seberang Takir, Teluk Pasu and Kuala Nerus which carried goods to the market.
“At that time, fruits were sold in heaps such RM1 for 20 oranges supplied by other traders. In those days we were using tahil, kati and pikul and not kilogramme now,” said Ibrahim who could not bear to see the change in the facade of Pasar Payang.
Nonetheless, Ibrahim who has been trading for more than 50 years agreed it was time for change and hoped Pasar Payang would regain its former glory.
Pasar Payang which is open from 7am to 6pm, got its name from the ‘payang’ boat used by fishermen at the spot where the market had its humble beginning.
The two-storey building which will be demolished has clothes, batik and songket traders occupying the top floor while the ground floor specialise in daily necessities such as spices, dried seafood as well as handicrafts and jewellery. — Bernama