Court quashes council’s decision to terminate licences, traders told to return

Jubilant hawkers after the High Court's decision in allowing them to return and continue to trade until the expiry of their licences.

SIBU, Oct 29: Licensed hawkers at the Kanowit District Council (KDC)’s multi-purpose market sighed with great relief yesterday after the Sibu High Court quashed the council’s decision to terminate their trading licences in April this year.

The High Court, at the same time, issued an order allowing the licensed hawkers to return and continue trading at the same Pasar Serbaguna MDK (KDC multi-purpose market)

On April 24 this year, the KDC secretary had issued a notice, notifying all the hawkers to vacate the market within three days.

The council warned that all the licences issued were revoked and terminated and the hawkers who chose to continue trading in the vicinity of the market would be blacklisted.

KDC further threatened that it will confiscate all the goods, trading tools and equipment used by the hawkers and that the it would not be responsible for their losses.

It was revealed that the KDC had entered into an agreement with a company called Nam Leong Sdn Bhd to lease the multi-purpose market for the company to operate a supermarket.

The hawkers were forcibly evicted from the market and they approached George Chen for legal assistance.

Five applicants, namely Nisi Gasing, Tan Jing Hong, Lu Kwong, Hu Suk Tin and Fatimah Abdullah had subsequently filed for an application for Judicial Review in the Sibu High Court on May 17.

They represented more than a hundred other hawkers trading in and within the vicinity of the market.

Leave for Judicial Review was granted by the Judicial Commissioner Lim Hock Leng June 24.

In his decision on Monday morning, Lim ruled that the tenure of the licenses issued by KDC were to run from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2019 and that the explicit statement and issuance of the licences gave rise to a legitimate expectation on the part of the licensees to continue trading until Dec 31.

“The court has therefore granted an order to quash the decision of the council and an order permitting the applicants and other licensed traders to return and continue to trade at the Pasar Serbaguna MDK until Dec 31, 2019, or such period as is stated in their licences,” Lim said. — DayakDaily