Raja Bot market traders caught off guard by closure notice

  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 30 Apr 2020

Alam Flora workers disinfecting the Raja Bot market after it was ordered to close for 14 days effective yesterday. — KAMARUL ARIFFIN/The Star

THE sudden announcement of the two-week closure of the Raja Bot market in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur caught some traders off guard, especially those who received tonnes of perishable items last week.

The directive on the 14-day closure starting yesterday was issued to the market traders on Monday, giving them only one day to clear up their stock, as the market is closed every Monday and Thursday for sanitisation.

Some traders managed to sell all their goods while others, especially those selling perishable items, had to give away any excess stock or dispose of items that had gone bad.

Vegetable seller Chong Kaw Seng, 63, considered himself lucky as he was able to sell all his stock.

“I am thankful to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for allowing us an extra day to sell off all the goods so that they would not go to waste, ” he said.

However, Tan Thiam Boon was not so lucky as he had bought fresh produce last Thursday which could be kept for about two weeks.

“I just bought a lorry full of potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin from Bidor, Perak, last week and I do not have enough time to clear my stock.

“During Ramadan, some of the Muslim traders usually get their supplies from me as they would not open their shops.

“We requested for DBKL to give us a few days to sell our items but to no avail.

“Some of the produce have started to rot and since we are not allowed to do business, I will most likely have to throw away a few baskets of unsold items, ” said the 60-year-old trader.

Tan said he would incur some RM3,000 in losses due to the abrupt closure of the market.

“There is nothing we can do but to adhere to the directive.”

The Raja Bot market will be reopened on May 13.

The area surrounding the market was cordoned off with yellow tape yesterday.

Several traders and foreign workers were seen inside while Alam Flora Sdn Bhd workers in protective gear disinfected the stalls and areas around the market.

Kuala Lumpur Chow Kit Area Hawkers and Petty Traders Association chairman Lee Chick King said they had anticipated the temporary closure of the market.

“We saw an ambulance at the market on Monday and we assumed that some of the workers here could have tested positive for Covid-19, ” he said.

Lee added that Health Ministry personnel had conducted Covid-19 testing for local and foreign workers last Thursday and the results should have been out on Sunday.

“However, we were not updated on the number of positive cases in the market.

“There are more than 1,000 traders in the market selling all sorts of vegetables, meat, and groceries, and we adopted preventive measures like wearing gloves and face mask as well as using hand sanitiser, ” he said.

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