Market and Petty Traders Committee chairman Albert Tiang said this at a press conference to quash allegations on social media that Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) was giving preferential treatment to one particular race in the allocation of trading lots.
“The viral message is untrue and a one-sided opinion of an individual with no knowledge of how we go about allocating lots,” he said.
On Aug 30, an individual posted on Facebook that the council was discriminating against traders from a certain ethnic group by allocating them trading space on the grass outside the perimeter while the other races were given proper lots within the market.
Tiang said those on the grass verge beyond the market were trading illegally.
“The traders outside have no permits.
“The council is for all people and as such the tamu (wet market) is also for all races,” he stressed.
Committee deputy chairman Augustine Merikan said that before the market was relocated from Jalan Mahsuri to the new site, the council had conducted a dialogue session in late July.
“Some 75 traders from the previous Pasar Tamu Jalan Mahsuri were present.”
He said they consisted of various races --- Dayak, Chinese and Malay.
“All of them were given permits to trade at the new site,” he said.
When the wet market was opened on Aug 1, the number of licensed traders swelled to 135.
“Due to the popularity of the tamu, other traders without permits came in two weeks ago and were allowed to trade for one day.
Merikan said those illegal traders, however, continued trading on the grass space, leading to the accusation on social media.
He said the council would cement the grassy area to accommodate some 30 to 35 additional traders by early October.
“We have received 70 applications from Dayak traders and we will shortlist them soon,” he said.
In the meantime, he appealed to those without permits to refrain from doing business at the tamu.
“During this recovery movement control order period, we have standard operating procedures to adhere to.
“If the market is too crowded, it may be ordered to close,” he cautioned.
SMC deputy chairman Bujang Abdul Majid urged the people not to spread false accusations against the council.
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