MANY illegal roadside food stalls have popped up in recent months in PJU 10 in Damansara Damai, Selangor, and locals are conflicted about their presence.
Some are in favour of these stalls on the basis that the traders are only trying to make a living during these tough times, while others are opposed to them, saying they are a hazard and obstruct traffic flow.
A resident who only wished to be known as Mira said there were locals supportive of these roadside stalls because they sell affordably-priced food.
“They sell food such as pisang goreng (banana fritters) and nasi campur (rice with assorted dishes, or “mixed rice”).
“Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has been conducting raids and issuing summonses but the traders would then move to another location nearby.
“In fact, there have been many more stalls cropping up in the past few weeks.
“I know of some which have moved to rented premises but not all stall operators can afford rent during the present Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
Mira hoped the city council would consider allocating a spot for these traders instead of just issuing summonses monthly.
She said it was time for the council to help these traders.
“There is a community hall nearby, maybe the council can shift them there,” she suggested.
“There are elderly couples selling food here. They are just trying to earn a living,” she added.
A trader who only wished to be known as Malek said he lost his job as an agent for foreign workers due to the pandemic.
He has three schoolgoing children, so he decided to start selling nasi campur here.
“I make a little income at the moment and wish to continue earning my own living.
“I hope the council will locate a temporary space with good foot traffic for us.
“There is no use setting up stalls at a location that is inaccessible to customers,” he said.
Meanwhile, an MBPJ spokesperson, who declined to be named, said the city council must be fair to those who operate their business legally.
He said these illegal stall owners do not have overhead costs such as rental, electricity bills and staff to pay.
“Of course their food is cheaper. The brick and mortar shops have high overhead costs and they are not having it easy either.
“These traders must apply for the council hawker stall lots. In fact, MBPJ has waived the rental for many months at the food courts due to the pandemic.
“These stall owners have to pay a deposit in case they damage the premises,” he said.
“We have received many complaints from the public regarding these stalls as they are affecting traffic and there are just too many of them now.”
He added that MBPJ had a spot in mind — near the present location of the stalls — and would discuss whether the illegal traders could move there.
As for Dewan Komuniti Damansara Damai, it is slated to become a vaccination centre and as such, the stalls could not move there, the spokesperson said.