Cobblers get a foot up with new kiosks from DBKU
By Jude Toyat
The cobblers at Satok business district will no longer be working from their makeshift workbenches, operating instead from their new shiny premises at the Green Kiosk Esplanade starting today (Nov 2).
Compact, yet efficient, three booths split into two kiosks each will provide the cobblers space to work from and store their equipment and customers’ footwear.
The kiosks are another part of Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) initiative to beautify the streets and city in line with their Clean, Beautiful and Safe (CBS) Enhancement Plan.
“The kiosks provide the cobblers comfortable working areas, and at the same time help them to improve their living standards and livelihood,” said DBKU Regulatory Services Department (RES) deputy director Morshidi Ahmad during a media visit at the Green Kiosk Esplanade located below Satok Flyover here yesterday (Nov 1).
He disclosed the cost of establishment of Green Kiosk Esplanade near Satok cost around RM30,000.
During the visit, six cobblers who provide shoe repair services within the vicinity of Jalan Satok received their keys to the kiosks including Azmaniah Osman Abdullah, Arip Sidi, Lehe’ Sani, Rembli Repin, Jong Sim Kong and Indra Bujang.
“The six cobblers today were our first batch to be relocated. The decision to transform the area below the flyover was made over a discussion with DBKU board members and the cobblers last year. Several matters were being considered at the discussion including traffic flow, numbers of customers coming into the trading area,” Morshidi said.
He also revealed that there will be more such kiosks to be built in the city for betterment of the community.
“We are currently in the midst of planning more kiosks for the other groups, including those in the Electra House vicinity here,” said Morshidi, adding that there were four cobblers in the area.
To obtain a kiosk, the cobblers were granted a permit from DBKU upon their applications. The kiosk will cost them RM30 a month to rent from DBKU.
“Since this is towards creating socioeconomic benefits, we are not making any profit out of this. It is merely being constructed with an aim to assist these cobblers and improve their livelihood,” he said.
Azmaniah Osman Abdullah expressed his joy over the establishment of the Green Kiosk Esplanade.
“We are very grateful to be provided such places with the hope to improve our businesses and this area is very strategic as it is located near several local landmarks such as the Tabung Haji building.
“To better improve the kiosks, we are now requesting for DBKU to install window grills for better security and also hope that the surrounding areas be cemented to make it convenient for our customers to make their way to send their shoes here,” said the 45-year-old cobbler from Miri.
Azmaniah said that shoemaking and repair services in Kuching are still in demand.
“Kuchingites prefer to send their shoes to cobblers instead of buying new pairs of shoes which may cost over RM50. We only charge them at a price ranging from RM8 to RM15 per shoe depending on materials used to produce the shoes,” he said, adding that in a day, he can get about 20 pairs of shoes for repair.
Meanwhile, for 38-year-old Kuching cobbler Indra Bujang, the cubicles will become a great platform for them to generate more income as it is strategically located in the heart of the city which is also a major tourist attraction.
“It is hoped that with the establishment of these cubicles, more customers will come for shoe-repair services and will help to improve the livelihood of local cobblers here,” he said.
“Although there may be a rise in service charge, we will try not to raise it too high as we also need to understand the economy our customers, locals and foreigners.”
Also present at the visit were DBKU council member Datin Mary Sadiah Zainuddin, deputy director Jumaini Haili and officers.