Difficult to enforce social distancing despite alternative Ramadan bazaar concepts, says traders association

  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 14 Apr 2020

A Ramadan bazaar. -filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: A traders association has expressed concern that social distancing will be hard to enforce as Ramadan bazaars tend to draw large crowds despite measures introduced by the Federal Territories Ministry.

Instead of regular bazaars, there will be drive-thru, pick-and-pack and e-hailing services during the movement control order (MCO).

For drive-thru concept, traders would be grouped into segments and food would be pre-packed.

Under the pick-and-pack, customers need to place their orders online with traders via platforms set up by the local authority.

Hawkers and Petty Traders Association of Malaysia committee secretariat Gulam Muszaffar Gulam Mustakim noted that visitors and e-hailing riders would congregate near the stalls while waiting for their meals to be packed.

He added that via the e-hailing concept, traders could set-up their house as the pick-up point for delivery.

"This makes it difficult for the authorities to monitor and control the traders," he said.

He said the association was engaged by the Federal Territories Ministry, via Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), to identify suitable locations and to provide data of the traders.

He said they will help in setting up the bazaars this year, but caution authorities to take responsibility if any untoward incident happens.

"We were initially reluctant to proceed with the bazaars (in light of the Covid-19 outbreak), but we agreed to help DBKL.

"But other aspects such as traffic and hawker management, cleanliness and security are up to the authorities to take care off," he said when met at Menara DBKL 3 in Jalan Raja Abdullah on Tuesday (April 14).

The association's president Datuk Seri Rosli Sulaiman said the number of traders at the locations needed to be halved to ensure sufficient distance between the stalls.

"DBKL will not refund the association for any payments that have been made. Traders not involved this year will have their payments being carried forward to next year," he said.

Rosli said some 2,700 traders had registered with DBKL early this year.

"The registration was supposed to close on March 31, but was closed early on March 17, in light of the MCO that took effect the next day," he said.

The MCO had been extended to April 28, five days into the fasting month.

On Monday (April 13), The Star reported that Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said he would meet with DBKL and Putrajaya Corporation on Thursday (April 16) to discuss the details of the three alternative concepts.

"We need to identify the locations, the layout of the stalls, number of traders and ensure compliance of the social distancing measure," he said.

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