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No break for used bicycle seller scrambling to make ends meet

Mohd Kamal Jusop used to run a motivational camp in Hulu Langat but now spends his days looking for old bicycles to restore.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
3 minute read
Mohd Kamal Jusop examines a bicycle brought to his workshop in Hulu Langat, Selangor.
Mohd Kamal Jusop examines a bicycle brought to his workshop in Hulu Langat, Selangor.

Mohd Kamal Jusop spends his days going from one scrap yard in Hulu Langat to another, looking for old, discarded bicycles which he takes back to his small workshop to repair and sell. 

He is a familiar face to the scrap yard caretakers, and their owners know to contact him if there are any bikes that he can buy for cheap. 

Kamal, who is in his 50s, also roams through housing areas, asking bicycle owners if they are looking to dispose of their bikes. 

Many bicycles once owned by foreign workers, for instance, are fair game for Kamal who takes them back to his workshop to restore to the best of his ability. 

Over the years, he has established a network of contacts among the foreign workers, who let him know if there are any bicycles to be thrown out. 

For 12 years, Kamal has done such work, day in and day out, in order to support his family of eight. 

Before that, he was a government contract worker and had also opened a training and motivational camp in Sungai Gabai.

Many had come to use the camp, and for years, he supported himself and his family in this way. 

But after two decades, business began to slow down. 

"A lot of training centres closed shop due to the challenging economic situation and other problems like mice," Kamal said in a recent interview with MalaysiaNow. 

His camp had also relied heavily on the expenditure of government agencies that once came on a frequent basis to use its facilities. 

As fewer and fewer came, though, he decided that he had to look for other means of earning an income. 

He started searching for used bicycles which he would sell online. Eventually, he set up a bicycle workshop in Hulu Langat. 

These days, he also receives bicycles from private owners who send them directly to him. 

But not every bicycle he gets is in good enough shape to be fixed up and sold again. 

"If they're in acceptable condition, I take them," he said. 

"But if there are too many things wrong with them, it's not worth it to repair them as bicycle parts are expensive."

If a bicycle can be resold for a good price, he does what he calls a full restoration job. 

Most of his demand is for mountain bikes, although he also sells racing and BMX bicycles, and even small bikes for children. 

And nearly every weekend, he sets up a small stall at the weekly "car boot" sale in Kota Damansara where he sells books, toys and vintage items which he collects or buys from his friends. 

"The car boot sale runs from 7am until about noon," Kamal said. 

"I can get RM200 to RM300 there, depending on the type of items I get. After that, I go back to my workshop if there are customers who are interested in buying a bicycle." 

It has been a long time since the father of six took a day off from work. If he has family arrangements to attend to, he takes a break of a few hours and then gets back to work as quickly as possible. 

Still, he considers himself fortunate as his wife is still working as a teacher. 

"This field is easy in theory, but it really depends on individual management," he said. 

"Things won't always just go up. If they go down too much, you have to leave and find work doing something else." 

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