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By Ashley Sim
KUCHING, Dec 21: Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng asserts that it is explicitly stated in the policy that hawkers must trade in person and not through a representative.
Wee was responding to Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong’s statement yesterday who urged MBKS to resolve the issue of hawker licences at the Sungai Apong Market on compassionate grounds rather than issuing non-trading notices to licensee who are absent when enforcement officers are present.
The mayor also emphasised that stores in markets and hawker centres are specifically catered for the B40 group, which is why the licence is so inexpensive.
“The stores in markets and hawker centres are for the B40 group, the individuals who need to trade the most, which is why the licence is so cheap.
“The individuals who need to trade at the store are not passed down from father to son, grandparent to grandchild, etc.
“And can you guess how much the licence costs per day? It’s only RM1,” he told reporters today at a press conference held at the Song Kheng Hai Hawker Centre here.
He continued by stating that the market is fully subsidised, including the hawker centres, to the tune of nearly one million ringgit in taxpayer funds.
“Are we not kind to the hawkers as a council? And now, two years after the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re trying to stick to our bylaws.
“We went to see who wasn’t trading so that others who needed the store could have a chance to do business.
“Because it is not right that we are subsidising the store with taxpayer funds and that they have been misused,” he explained.
Wee went on to say that it is unfair to those who have approached the council and attempted to apply for a store licence.
“Accusing the council of taking advantage and trying to hurt the hawkers is the most unfair statement. It is not true that we do not care for our hawkers.
“Please refrain from making all of these unnecessary accusations. This first video is followed by a second video asking us to consider this or that, despite the fact that there is a proper channel for you to write in.
“So, for the public to know, we want them to understand that from day one when we started all the market and hawker centres, it is specifically catered for the B40 group,” he stressed.
Furthermore, he stated that on non-trading notices, the hawkers are given 21 days, which includes seven days after the first letter, seven days after the second letter, and seven days after the third letter.
“In those 21 days, we just want you to open your store and trade there, and if you can’t trade there then let us know the reason why,” Wee remarked. — DayakDaily