Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Pekan Rabu or Wednesday Market,Alor Setar.

For a sense of the local culture, a trip to this vibrant market in Alor Star is a must. The name Pekan Rabu translates as 'Wednesday Market' however, the market's popularity is such that it now operates throughout the week. Beginning in the early morning and remaining open until midnight, the market is the ideal place to sample local edible delicacies or to pick up some interesting handicrafts.
Pekan Rabu, which literally means "Wednesday Market", is a shopping centre located in the middle of Alor Star, the state capital of Kedah, Malaysia. The complex is popular among the local population and tourists from outside Kedah
Prior to the construction of this complex, the traders carried on their business in an open building without walls. The complex cost RM 3.2 million when it was built in 1975. Situated in Jalan Tunku Ibrahim, it was officially opened on 25 February 1978. It was renovated in 1995 at a cost of RM 6.5 million, and Phase 2 was built in 1990 at a cost of RM 2 million. Pekan Rabu has 347 stalls with a variety of business. Pekan Rabu ( Wednesday Market ) is located in the middle of Alor Setar, near government offices at Jalan Tunku Ibrahim
The business complex is not only the pride of Malay entreprenuers in Kedah but also the pride of all Malay's in Kedah. Moreover the fourth Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, once was a trader in Pekan Rabu. Most tourists visiting Alor Setar make it a point to shop around at the Pekan Rabu Complex.
Pekan Rabu has its own unique history regarding its role in encouraging the Malays to take an active role in commercial activities.
Commercial activity at Pekan Rabu began after world War I on the initiative of Tunku Yaakob, the son of the late Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah (the 18th Sultan of Kedah) a prince whose aim was to see that the Malays can continue in trade in Alor Setar. It started as a weekly market in Tanjung Chali, situated between Jalan Pekan Cina and Jalan Pengkalan Kapal.
Tanjung Chali was the training groung for Malays in business. Tunku Yaakob pioneered this market to be a weekly market on every Wednesday in the early 1920s. This weekly market soon evolved into a daily market when business started to prosper. The State Government then decided to shift the market to its present location in 1932 when it was obvious that the site was getting congested.
During the Japanese Occupation, Tun Dr. Mahathir studies were interrupted and he switch to trading at Pekan Rabu which has now become a compulsory stop in his annual Ramadhan pilgrimage to Alor Setar. Many years has passed since then and the boy who used to sell fruits and handicraft at Pekan Rabu is now Malaysia’s biggest “salesman” on the international stages. Pekan Rabu is now open not just on Wednesday, but every day. From is humble beginning weekly market operating from an attap roofed shack, it has since expanded into a multistory arcade selling a wide range of from traditional delicacies like dodol durian to mengkuang mats and apparel which very popular among both local people and also tourists from all over the countries
Traditional foods (Kuih tradisional) such as dodol, kuih karas, peneram, bahulu, etc. are among the hot items sold here. With the new business complexes built surrounding the Pekan Rabu, the variety of items sold increased. Now, there are plenty of shops selling different kind of textiles, tudung, songkok, traditional clothes such as baju kurung and baju melayu. It’s more or less like Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur, which is also known as the Heaven of Textiles.

So, now, people who live nearby, for example, Perlis and Penang, they may choose to go to Kuala Lumpur or just shop at Alor Setar, which is nearer to their places.

Pekan Rabu will become more busy during public holidays, festive seasons such Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya, and weekends. You can see that many outsiders, from other states went back to their hometown, and shop their things at Pekan Rabu. This is the place where they come to get their materials for the preparation for Hari Raya.


No comments:

Post a Comment