SMC chief: Relocation of Pasar Tamu Sibu in the interests of public health

An 'apam balik' vendor conducting business at Pasar Tamu Jalan Mahsuri.

SIBU, July 9: Pasar Tamu Sibu needs to be relocated to Taman Indah as it is unable to comply with Standard Operating Procedures under the Recovery Movement Control Order at its present site at Jalan Mahsuri.

Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Clarence Ting today said in view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation, public health concerns are paramount and preventing the spread of the illness is the council’s primary concern above all else.

While he did not mention any names, it is believed he was responding to Pelawan assemblyman David Wong who recently questioned the rationale for relocating the weekend market.

According to Ting, the Sunday market began in 2001 following the presence of illegal vegetable sellers doing business along the back lane of Jalan Khoo Peng Loong after the central market opened.

At the time, a committee representing SMC hawkers proposed these sellers move to Jalan Mahsuri but the proposal was met with much resistance.

However, after three months of strict enforcement, all the traders finally agreed.

Ting also recalled that during that period, the council was willing to consider giving trading spaces to unlicensed traders who were mostly vegetable growers whose selling prices were subject to licensed hawkers.

“In order to give growers more income, SMC allowed non-licensed traders to trade on Sunday,” he added.

However, some two decades after, many of the vegetable growers’ businesses have grown to the extent that some were able to open supermarket or private outlets to sell their produce.

Many traders from other districts have also set up stalls at the Pasar Tamu.

Ting also pointed out, instead of selling produce sourced locally, larger stalls are selling imported fruits and vegetables, thus causing more non-locally farmed produce to be sold at the Sunday market.

Additionally, a significant number of stalls at the Sunday market were set up by existing licensed traders at the central market.

On the new site for the Pasar Tamu at Taman Indah, he expressed understanding that the location is considered “far” for some, but pointed out it is not far for the thousands of residents in Sg Merah, UCTS, Taman Indah, Ulu Sg Merah and Rantau Panjang housing development areas. — DayakDaily