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KUCHING: Pedawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Lo Khere Chiang is standing firm on his decision to move stallholders along the roadside near Kampung Bumbok to the new hawker centre.
He said there will be no trading on the roadside like how it was before.
“These hawkers have to move into the new hawker centre. There shall be no trading along the roadside,” Lo told DayakDaily today.
He promised to improve the facilities in the new hawker centre to meet the needs and requirements of the stallholders.
In terms of the issue of halal and non-halal stalls, Lo who is also Batu Kitang assemblyman was firm to assert that it was non-existent.
“The hawkers are all Bidayuh traders and there is no pork seller at the moment. The issue of halal and non-halal stalls should not come into the picture,” said Lo.
Lo was responding to the villagers of Kampung Bumbok who demanded an official explanation after their stalls selling vegetables and fresh produce along the road near the village were demolished by MPP on Sept 19.
More than 25 villagers claimed that Lo had promised them that he would not demolish the stalls.
Special Assistant to state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, Dr Kelvin Yii who had gone to meet those affected on Tuesday said many of these hawkers were the sole breadwinners of their families whose income came from these roadside stalls.
He said MPP had a meeting with them on July 17 regarding the eviction. The villagers expressed their objection during the meeting and Lo made a verbal promise and agreed that they could continue to carry out their business by the roadside outside Kampung Bumbok.
However, a month later, the hawkers were shocked to receive a letter from MPP, dated Aug 18, 2017, notifying them to relocate their business to the Kampung Bumbok Community Centre (KBCC).
The notice stated that MPP at the Special Full Council Meeting that was held on Aug 17 had made a unanimous decision on the matter, which is contrary to what was promised to the hawkers during the earlier meeting with Lo.
Yii said the main concern of the villagers was that their businesses might be affected if they were to relocate to KBCC which was the experience of some stallholders who did try to move earlier.
Besides that, Yii said some of the hawkers were reluctant to move because there was no proper partition to separate the halal and non-halal stalls as most of their customers are Muslim and they may feel uncomfortable coming to the new location especially if there were alcohol and non- halal items being sold openly without proper partitions.