KUCHING: Ramadan bazaars in Sarawak are a good example of multicultural harmony as they bring together shoppers from different races.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said Ramadan bazaars were frequented not only by Muslims but also a lot of non-Muslims.
“Apart from providing convenience, it is also an opportunity to celebrate Ramadan together with all the races,” he said when opening the Kota Sentosa Ramadan bazaar here.
Dr Sim added that the bazaars also provided a stimulating effect on the local economy.
“We are happy that most of the local councils will set up Ramadan bazaars during this time. I look forward to visiting a few more Ramadan bazaars under different councils.
“We want to make sure that the councils provide the necessary facilities and convenience for everybody,” he said.
The Kota Sentosa bazaar is one of seven Ramadan bazaars under the Padawan Municipal Council’s (MPP) jurisdiction.
Organised by the Sarawak 1Malaysia Hawkers and Petty Traders Association, it has 90 stalls selling a wide range of food including rice dishes, grilled chicken, murtabak and local favourites like umai and tapai.
MPP’s other bazaars are located at Matang Mall, KK Mart, E-Mart Matang, E-Mart Batu Kawa, Taman Allamanda and Kota Padawan. Five are organised by community associations and two by the private sector.
“The concept is to establish centralised Ramadan bazaars in major townships under MPP’s jurisdiction so that ad hoc festive traders can be localised in an organised and controlled manner within the framework of a community-based activity,” the council said.
MPP is collaborating with local private organisers, community associations, Health Ministry and Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry to hold dialogues with the participants at its various Ramadan bazaar sites on practising good etiquette and cleanliness while sustaining their cultural heritage.
It will carry out monitoring and routine checks at the various sites together with the relevant government agencies.
In addition, MPP is working with companies to contribute to the bazaars as part of their social obligations. In line with this, Central Coldstorage Kuching Sdn Bhd is sponsoring aprons for food handlers and promotion banners.
“By facilitating the centralised Ramadan bazaars, we hope to develop community participation and create awareness of social responsibility within the respective communities,” MPP said.