SMC slammed for closing down market fortnightly as hawkers’ livelihood adversely affected

Sibu Central Market (file photo).

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 28: Dudong assemblyman Datuk Seri Ting King Sing has called out Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) for the latter’s decision in closing down Sibu Central Market for two weeks to make way for electrical wiring system replacement works.

To him, such a decision would destroy the hawkers’ and vendors’ livelihood.

“The head of Sibu Municipal Council Market and Petty Traders Standing Committee has no qualms about destroying the hawkers and vendors’ livelihoods, to make way for a contractor to replace the electrical wiring system in the Central Market. 

“These markets are closed for two weeks, forcing the traders who rely on making a daily living not to be able to make ends meet. Then, to add insult to injury, the wiring work was postponed, which was not communicated to the traders. 

“These poor traders are forced to wait indefinitely for their stalls to reopen for them to do business,” said Tiong in a social media post today.

He questioned who would compensate the hawkers’ or the vendors’ loss of income for the two weeks.

“Why couldn’t the SMC draw up a win-win solution, where the vendors can be asked to close up early, for instance at 2pm, and let the contractor start their work into the night?  Temporarily coexisting so that both parties can face the least convenience possible.

“Why does it seem that the arrangement of the wiring works favours the contractor more than the traders?” Tiong, who is also Bintulu MP, continued to question.

He said it is important to know that a single day’s turnover is critical to the traders, and it is even worse now that they cannot do business for two weeks.

To him, a family’s monthly food and living expenses can only be sustained by a steady day-to-day income. The economic impact brought on by the pandemic has weakened the general buying power of the public, and business volume for hawkers has greatly reduced. 

“All my colleagues in the SMC should bear in mind that the Sarawak government established the council with the responsibility to help maintain good livelihood for the people, improve the services that assist them, and solve their problems. It is not for them to make life difficult and flaunt their authority. 

“As I said yesterday, it is time to end your honeymoon period. I urge them to do some self-reflection, and review their mistakes and shortcomings and improve the service quality of the departments that they run,” said Tiong, who is also the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China. — DayakDaily