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SIBU, June 13: The night market here will reopen on June 17 after three months of closure due to the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Chairman of Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Councillor Clarence Ting said the Pasar Malam will be opened from 5 pm to 10 pm based on local conditions, after being closed since March 18.
However only half of the 164 stalls will be operating during the current Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period.
“There are 164 stalls that usually operate nightly. In order to meet the federal standard operating procedures (SOP) of 1.5-metre social distancing, only half of the stalls will operate nightly,” he said.
Ting said even though only half of the traders will be operating, the council would ensure that the usual mix of stalls will operate nightly.
On Friday afternoon, the stall operators came to the Central Market office to do balloting for their operating days.
According to the federal SOP, the council will also only allow the customers to patronise the night market for 30 minutes to avoid crowding which will affect social distancing.
Public members however felt that the amount of time allocated for customers is a constraint for them.
A shipping executive, Albert Tay felt that 30 minutes is too short.
“It would be like the other day when I went to a shop that allows customers 20 minutes only. By the time I had my temperature scanned and particulars noted down, I have forgotten my purpose of going there.
I grabbed something totally unnecessary and forgot to inspect for defects,” he said.
For Pasar Malam, he would need to spend at least 45 minutes as it is usually a place for strolling and deciding what to buy or what catches his eyes.
“With time restrictions, I would only go there unless I specifically know what I have in mind to buy,” he asserted.
A lawyer, David Ting, wondered how the council could monitor the amount of time buyers spend in the market.
“If the authorities cannot enforce the SOP and monitor the minutes the crowds spend there, then the announcement becomes meaningless,” he said. –DayakDaily.