Pending rep urges MBKS to be less rigid, solve hawker licences issue at Sg Apong Market

Yong speaking to reporters at a press conference held at the Sungai Apong Market here today (Dec 20, 2022).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Dec 20: Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong is urging Kuching South City Council (MBKS) to resolve the issue of hawker licences at the Sungai Apong Market on compassionate grounds rather than issuing non-trading notices to licensees who are absent when enforcement officers are present.

Yong told reporters this today at a press conference held at the Sungai Apong Market here.

“MBKS has issued non-trading notices to the hawkers at Sungai Apong Market, informing them that if the licence holder is not present at the store when the enforcement officers are here, it will be considered non-trading and action will be taken.

“Apparently you can see that the hawkers here, most of them are the elderly and most of them are representatives of the licence holder.

“For example, the licence is in the name of the son, Mr Ng. But, as you can see, the father is trading at the store, and they have been doing business in this manner since the market began, which was 21 years ago,” she explained.

She went on to say that the MBKS enforcement officer in charge of licensing recently informed the hawkers here that if the licence holder is absent, even if a representative is present, the enforcement officer will consider the hawker to be non-trading and will terminate the licence.

“This is currently the concern at Sungai Apong Market, so I urge MBKS to resolve the situation humanely and on a case-by-case basis.

“If hawkers are related, such as a father and son, and are properly registered, you should just let them trade and not bother them because you can see that their businesses are not doing well,” she asserted.

Additionally, Yong implored MBKS not to be so rigid in its enforcement actions.

“Sometimes the licence holder, who is the son, may not be here due to getting stock from someone else and then bringing it to the parents, who are the representatives, to sell, so there is nothing wrong as it is a family business.

“You cannot be so rigid in your enforcement that the licence holder must always be present in the store,” she stressed.

Furthermore, she emphasised that the hawkers received non-trading notices in November and were also informed verbally.

The Pending assemblywoman also mentioned that she had written to MBKS to request a dialogue session with the Sungai Apong Market hawkers so that the council could handle the issue on a case-by-case basis.

“I’ve also been informed by a different hawker that a representative who is not yet married cannot apply to be the licence holder.

“This is too much and another issue is that another hawker’s mother who has a licence at another market cannot apply as the licence holder as well.

“People want to trade and properly apply for a licence to trade in your market, what is wrong? Let it be as long as they are genuine traders,” she remarked.

Yong noted that fewer than 10 hawkers at the Sungai Apong Market have been affected by the issue thus far, and she hopes that MBKS will provide them with special conditions. — DayakDaily