SIBU: Central Market traders have been reminded not to leave their goods overnight at the market because Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) will not be held responsible for any losses incurred from theft.
Market and Petty Traders chairman and councillor Albert Tiang said according to a rule in the trading licence, hawkers must take away their goods after the day’s trading.
If traders insist on leaving their goods overnight at the market, it will be at their own risk.
Recently, several crab sellers complained that between seven and eight baskets of crabs weighing over 50kg were stolen at night.
“The council is not to be blamed for the thefts, as it is stated in their licence that they must not leave their goods overnight there.
“That has been the stipulated condition since when the market opened 20 years ago. We are not trying to shirk responsibility and we sympathise with the affected traders,” he said.
He added that traders at the market in Jalan Tiong Hua and Grand Height had been strictly observing the rule and not leaving their goods at the stalls overnight.
In other markets in Kuching, Miri and Bintulu, traders comply with the rule as well by not leaving their goods overnight on the premises.
Owing to the recent theft, Tiang said SMC would soon enforce the rule and traders must not keep their goods at their stalls outside of trading hours.
The council made this decision after some traders complained about the lack of security at the market, resulting in the theft of their goods.
“We will gradually implement the rule that requires traders to take home their items.
“This is done not only to prevent theft but also to keep rodents from eating the perishable goods,” he elaborated.
On claims by affected traders that the security guards at the market were not doing their duty, Tiang explained that their duty was only to prevent vandalism of council’s property.
“The duty of the four to six security guards is not to look after the goods of the traders but to keep an eye on council’s property and prevent people from creating disturbance in the market,” he said.
He stressed that it was almost impossible for the guards to look after 1,100 stalls at night as the market was too big.
On the stolen crabs, he said the council had handed over evidence to the police for further action.
“Screen-grabs from a closed-circuit TV camera show a man stealing the items at about 7o’clock that night.
“The matter is now with the police,” he said.