Outdoor market traders seek DBKL’s permission to open during lockdown

Police checking on SOP compliance at the Kepong Baru wet market. Only stalls selling vegetables, meats and dry food items are allowed to open for business during the lockdown.

KEPONG Baru market traders want Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to reconsider the decision to close outdoor markets during the lockdown, especially since some hawkers are allowed to operate by the roadside during this period.

The traders also fear the possibility of the lockdown being extended beyond June 14, which will impact their income further.

Traders said it was unfair for DBKL to allow hawkers under the Federal Territories Ministry’s Bebas Berniaga initiative to operate but this leeway was not given to outdoor markets traders.

“Outdoor market traders in Kuala Lumpur are not allowed to operate but those in Selangor can open shop,” said Kepong Baru Zone C Market Traders Associations chairman Loo Fook Lan.

“To us, this is double-standards.

“We can only obey the rules set by the local authority and stop operating for two weeks but what happens if the lockdown is extended?

“Most of the traders here earn a meagre income and can only sustain themselves for a short period of time.”

She said outdoor market traders were willing to comply with additional safety measures if required as long as DBKL reconsiders allowing them to trade.

“We are open to negotiation on stricter SOP as long as DBKL permits outdoor markets to open.

“The Kepong Baru market has undergone a facelift and is not as cramped as before.

“Traders are practising physical distancing and the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) officers are there to ensure SOP compliance,” she said during a press conference at the Kepong Baru wet market.

According to the National Security Council’s SOP guidelines dated June 2, daily and public markets are allowed to operate from 6am to 2pm subject to the local authority approval.

However, in Kuala Lumpur indoor markets can operate but outdoor markets are to remain closed due to DBKL’s ruling.

Kepong Hawkers and Petty Traders Association vice-chairman Deric Teh said the movement control order extension would spell disaster for market traders.

“Market traders cannot sustain further and the association will appeal to DBKL for outdoor markets to reopen if the lockdown is extended.

“We also hope the government can give out incentives to traders including night market traders who are also affected by the lockdown,” he said.

Kepong Community Service Centre head Yee Poh Ping said the lockdown has affected 700 hawkers and traders.

“I have appealed to Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah and Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa to reopen these markets.

“The current ruling allowing roadside hawkers to do business but not affording market traders the same treatment is unfair.

“Besides, market traders observed the safety SOP during the previous MCO and they can still do the same,” he said.

Police and DBKL representatives were also present to check on the traders at the time of the press conference.

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