SEREMBAN City Council’s (MBS) decision to charge for parking at the wet market on weekends and public holidays has drawn mixed reactions, with half of them crying foul.Homemaker Maggie Lee, in her 30s, said it was unfair for market visitors to have to pay parking fees on those days when motorists who park in the rest of the city are exempted.
“It is my hope the council will review this, ” she said.
Her call was seconded by retiree Osman Jaapar, 67.
“Hopefully MBS will reconsider its decision by allowing those who do marketing on weekends to park for free at the market, just like in other parts of the city, ” he said.
MBS reintroduced parking fees at the main wet market in Seremban starting Feb 1.
The collection had been suspended for more than two years following a massive fire in September 2017.
Seremban mayor Datuk Zazali Salehudin said the decision to charge motorists a parking fee on weekends and public holidays was not new.
“The council only stopped collecting parking charges following a fire at the market in 2017.
“We had to stop collection then because traders affected by the blaze were moved to the parking area to enable them to continue their business, ” he said in a written reply to queries.
The 327 traders who were displaced were also not charged any rent when they were moved to the parking lot.
Repair and refurbishment works on the wet market cost the authorities some RM12mil.
Those who park at the wet market are charged 60sen an hour from 8am to 5pm daily.
Motorists will also be charged if they park at the market from 8am to 1pm on weekends as well as public holidays.
There are 309 parking bays in the market grounds.
Zazali said regulations to impose a parking fee at the wet market were gazetted in 1994.
However, he said the council only began collecting parking fees in 1997.
“After the repair and refurbishment works on the wet market were completed, the traders were allowed to move back into the building.
“That is why we have reintroduced the parking fee.”
He revealed that the council stopped charging parking fees in Seremban in 2017 because it was mulling introducing a new collection system.
Parking fee was only reintroduced in the city in January 2019.
However, the mayor did not explain why MBS collected parking fees at the wet market on weekends and public holidays.
Checks at the wet market during peak hours on weekends showed that it was not easy for visitors to get parking because of the big crowd.
Some visitors were forced to park in privately managed carparks nearby where they had to pay a parking fee too.
Osman suggested that the council consider lowering the hourly charges to half the current rate to not burden consumers.
While some question the city council’s decision to impose parking charges on weekends and public holidays, there are those who agree with the city council’s move.
Jagdev Singh, 32, said since most people went to the market during weekends, the higher revenue collected from parking would enable the council to better maintain the area.
“Many people visit popular eateries on the top floor above the market on weekends.
“My personal opinion is that since most shopping centres and other private parking lots charge on weekends, there is nothing wrong in the council doing so as well, ” he said.
Bus driver G. Sinnathamby, 48, concurred with Jagdev.
“I think it is okay for the council to charge a small fee.
“This area is always in a mess after business hours and it costs the council a lot of money to clean it up, ” he said.
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