PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will take to social media to help food stall operators along Jalan 13/4 in Petaling Jaya, who are opposing a relocation order by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).
Najib said he would post his suggestions on how to resolve the matter on Facebook, while also urging MBPJ to adopt a “win-win” solution.
“I understand and sympathise with the pressure that is faced by the hawkers here. Their demands to be allowed to continue operating here is reasonable, as this is their livelihood which they can’t afford to lose, ” he said after meeting with the traders on Monday (Nov 30).
“We hope the Selangor state government and MBPJ would consider their requests to stay, ” he added.
On Nov 9, Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohd Sayuthi Bakar said that hawkers had been given several options for relocation, namely Pasar Besar Jalan Othman, Kompleks C in Jalan Sultan and PJ Midtown in Section 13.
This was after the council ordered the hawkers to relocate from the area in July to make way for work to remove a pipe that lies underneath the stalls to the opposite side of the road.
Speaking about the removal work, Najib said that hawkers should be asked to vacate the area for a month before being allowed to resume operations there.
Also present at the Monday meeting was Petaling Jaya Umno chief Datuk Abdul Mutalif Abdul Rahim and hawkers representative Md Ismail Kassim, who said they had exhausted all avenues to appeal the decision.
“We were told to move out by July 31. We then met with an MBPJ councillor, who arranged for us to meet with the Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran. He told us that he would forward the matter to the mayor, ” said Md Ismail.
“Since then, we have been in constant contact with MBPJ via letters to delay the relocation order.
We have also forwarded our concerns to the Mentri Besar’s office, but have yet to receive a reply, ” he added
Md Ismail added that the final relocation date had been pushed to Dec 1.
On Nov 23, Rajiv said that the hawkers could relocate to other sites and had suggested Section 17, Kampung Lindungan and Kota Damansara.
“They can choose any vacant stall in a food court or a food truck bazaar. I will help them get their licence for these new locations, ” he said.
However, hawker Aerah Ali said that many traders refused to move to the new locations due to the low foot traffic there.
Aerah – who had been operating at the location for the last 10 years – said that the monthly rental at the new locations were also higher compared to RM65 at the present location.
“We were told that rental at the new locations is RM500. The amount will be increased gradually every year until RM800. We also have to pay three months up front before we move there, which is costly, ” she said.
Aerah said the stalls here were frequented daily by workers from the surrounding buildings, some of which operated 24 hours.
StarMetro’s attempts to reach MBPJ for comments were unsuccessful at press time.
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