Council orders sudden closure

The Fama market at Laman Niaga Komuniti in Bandar Baru Bangi is one of many affected by MPKj’s closure notice. — Filepic

JUST days after getting the green light to operate during the movement control order, morning and farmers markets within the administrative jurisdiction of Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) have been ordered to close today, until further notice.

The council said market organisers who wish to resume business anytime before the present MCO ends on Jan 26, are required to submit an application to MPKj Licensing and Traders Department detailing how they plan to adhere to the National Security Council’s (MKN) standard operating procedures at the sites.

The announcement, made on the local council’s Facebook page on Thursday, said the move was a precautionary measure due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

Selangor Task Force Covid-19 statistics for Kajang, updated as of noon on Thursday, showed that there were 64 new cases from the preceding day and 913 cases cumulatively this year.

Kajang also had the highest number of cases in the Hulu Langat district this year, followed by Ampang and Cheras which recorded 382 and 352 cases respectively.

MPKj public relations head Kamarul Izlan Sulaiman said the local council was extra cautious as there were cases of visitors at the markets who tested positive for Covid-19.

“Markets are places regularly frequented by many.

“We need strict adherence to the SOP to avoid any cluster originating from markets, not only in checking the body temperature and recording contact details of everyone entering the premises, but also in terms of spacing and movement inside the market compound.

“This is a pre-emptive measure taken to ensure that the markets are safe for all.

“I advise market organisers to submit their applications to resume business for our consideration.

“Our officers will offer advice on the matter too.

Chia says MPKj's directive to close is an effective way to weed out hawkers who do not observe hygiene or follow SOP.Chia says MPKj's directive to close is an effective way to weed out hawkers who do not observe hygiene or follow SOP.

“If the department’s officers are satisfied with the proposal and compliance on the SOP and licensing technicalities at the market, a letter of permission will be issued, ” he said.

MKN had, in guidelines issued earlier this week following the implementation of the MCO in Selangor and five other states, said morning and farmers markets would be allowed to operate from 7am to 2pm provided they follow the SOP to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Wholesale markets, on the other hand, were allowed to open from midnight to 6am, and from 11am to 4pm.

When contacted, morning and farmers’ market traders said they would abide by MPKj’s directive for them to cease operating from today.

Bandar Sungai Long Petty Traders Association chairman Fanny Lim said the association would submit applications to the Licensing and Traders Department on behalf of the 98 traders who operated along Jalan SL 1.

“We are going to need a few days to as we have to detail the SOP that will be put in place to ensure that our customers are safe.

“In the past, we would hand-deliver our appeal letters but as we are now under a movement control order, we will be doing so online or via email, ” Lim told StarMetro.

First on the association’s agenda is to allocate space for traders in the 400m-long morning market.

She said there should be ample space to observe 1.5m distancing between stalls along the entire stretch plus two guard posts manned by Rela personnel at both ends of the market.

However, some 50 traders at the market whose licences had yet to be renewed, expressed concern that their appeal might not be heard.

Rela officers at one of the two posts in Bandar Sungai Long morning market a day before the market was ordered to close.Rela officers at one of the two posts in Bandar Sungai Long morning market a day before the market was ordered to close.

Lim said they had approached MPKj’s Licensing Department earlier this month prior to the MCO but were told to wait for a decision.

Kampung Baru Semenyih Petty Traders Association chairman Chia Ke Fong, speaking on behalf of 100 morning market traders, lauded the council’s move to close the markets, saying that this would be an effective way to further weed out traders who did not observe hygiene or follow SOP.

“As all the morning market traders here are licensed and have bought extra stock in anticipation of the coming Chinese New Year festival, we hope the application process can be expedited.

“If they do not get the green light to resume business, they will suffer losses.

“So, it is our greatest hope that this issue is not prolonged and that the council will approve our applications as soon as possible, provided our SOP is in place, ” said Chia.

Mohd Radhi Abdul Fatah, who is Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) district officer for Hulu Langat that oversees three farmers markets, said an application had been submitted

to the Fama Selangor office in Shah Alam to be channelled to MPKj.

“Attached with the letter are details of the SOP that is being practised at our markets, a plan of the market layout and a list of all the traders along with the products that are being sold, ” said Radhi.

The farmers markets are located at Laman Niaga Komuniti in Bandar Baru Bangi as well as Taman Ramal Indah and Desa Sri Jenaris in Kajang.

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