New home for street hawkers

HEAVY traffic conditions in Chulia Street, Penang, with buses plying the road and customers stopping their vehicles by the roadside are posing a danger to some 30 street hawkers there.

To top it off, these hawkers popular for their sought-after street food, were also periodically issued with compounds for hawking illegally at the site.

Penang Island City councillor Wong Yuee Harng (pic) said it is for these reasons that the hawkers would be relocated to a new spot beside the road in Carnarvon Street, between Chulia Street and Campbell Street.

“Since last year, several meetings were held with the affected hawkers and they understood the objective of the relocation for their own safety and that of their customers.

“Traffic in Chulia Street has become congested over the years with heavy vehicles such as buses plying the road and customers stopping their vehicles by the roadside to buy food.

‘’Under this relocation plan, the hawkers can finally be licensed and they only need to pay licensing fees as temporary static hawkers.

‘’They will no longer be deemed as illegal hawkers, ’’ he said recently.

Wong added the relocation has received positive feedback from various parties including landlords currently living along Carnarvon Street, who hope the plan will help rejuvenate livelihood in the area.

“The new location is not far off but the dining experience as a street food paradise will be enhanced with more space and better hygiene.

“Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will instal grease traps and hawkers will maintain it together to keep the place clean after business.

“Gone are the days of rats scurrying around drains by the hawker stalls in Chulia Street, ” he added.

Wong said once the hawkers move out, safety of motorists using Penang Road and Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling will improve.

However, he said due to the current conditional movement control order (MCO) being enforced, it is uncertain when the relocation would be carried out but hinted that it would be ‘very soon’.

“The locations are ready and everyone will move together.

“Nobody will be left behind and we will ensure that every hawker secures a stall under the plan, ” he said.

Since the hawkers had never been issued licences before, it could not be determined exactly for how long they have been operating in Chulia Street.

But according to Wong, hawkers have claimed that their ancestors started their businesses there since the British colonial days.

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