A GROUP of night market traders are upset with Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) for terminating their licences following their protest against a new management system that required them to pay an additional fee.
The seven traders comprised five who trade at Taman Bukit Kuchai, Puchong and two at Taman Sri Serdang, Seri Kembangan.
“Our licence was revoked last month because we objected to MPSJ’s new J3P (Traders Coordinator and Action Committee)system.
“The additional fee imposed was also not stated in our licence renewal,” said Deong Kee Ming, who spoke on behalf of the seven.
“In August last year, MPSJ announced its decision to have a J3P committee to manage our markets and that they wanted to impose an additional RM5 monthly fee per lot to hire Rela personnel, paint trading sites and cover other maintenance costs.
“We were against this as we have not had any problems for over 20 years and our licence fee covers all necessary services, including rubbish collection,” said Deong, 60, who sells household items.
Another trader Tanggaraju V. Krishnan said they initiated a petition to collect names, phone numbers and signatures of Taman Bukit Kuchai night market traders who were against the J3P system.
“Close to 140 signed the petition,” said the 59-year-old who sells mobile phone accessories.
“There are more than 200 traders occupying over 500 lots there. Based on the fund collection, that would mean MPSJ is able to collect at least RM2,000 a month or RM30,000 a year.
“MPSJ was not able to answer when we asked where the money would go to or who would manage the funds.”
Deong said they were unfairly accused by MPSJ of sabotaging its efforts and misusing traders’ names and signatures.
“The names that MPSJ accuses us of misusing are the names from the petition. We did not fake those details as they were signed by the traders,” he said.
“We have lodged reports with the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on this.”
Tanggaraju said they appealed to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo and Kinrara assemblyman Ng Sze Han for help, but to no avail.
Deong and Tanggaraju claimed most traders were unhappy about the J3P system and the additional fee, but were unwilling to voice out due to possible repercussions such as licence revocation.
“The seven of us were penalised because we were the most vocal,” said Deong.
“Most of us also do business in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur and did not face such problems.”
Tanggaraju said they wanted to revert to the old system without J3P and the RM5 fee.
A local Malay daily had earlier reported that the seven traders had their licences revoked after they were accused of “sabotaging MPSJ”.
“In this case, the seven were found to have forged other traders’ signatures without informing them what the petition was for, falsifying certain issues and abusing traders’ names,” MPSJ Licensing Department director Muhammad Azli Miswan was quoted as saying.
“Based on MPSJ’s investigations, the traders named in the petition said they were unaware of their names being used and denied signing the document.
“The seven also incited other traders not to follow the council’s guidelines.”
Because of that, Muhammad Azli said MPSJ saw the licence revocation as the right move to serve as a lesson for them to abide by the council’s rules.
Asked about the issue, MPSJ deputy president Mohd Zulkarnain Che Ali said the J3P system was introduced to empower traders to set up a committee to manage the market themselves.
“Over the years, we have seen an increase in market traders, including those who are not locals.
“We do not have enough staff to manage all the markets.
“Rela personnel are hired for traffic management at the night markets, hence the RM5 monthly fee; and this has proven to be effective as the traffic flow has improved,” he said.
Furthermore, he said, night markets could be a tourist attraction.
As for the petition, Mohd Zulkarnain said, “While the other traders did sign the petition, they did so without knowing what the petition is for. Hence, the council has lodged a police report against the traders who initiated the petition.
“Even if they do not want to pay the monthly fee, they should not instigate others to follow suit.”
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