Taman Meru food court traders crying foul over notice to vacate


Taman Meru food court needs to be refurbished to attract better business for the traders. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

TAMAN Meru food court traders in Ipoh, Perak, are upset over being asked to vacate their place of business.

The traders received a notice dated Sept 15 from Ipoh City Council (MBI) informing them to vacate the premises by Nov 1.

Established in 2004, the food court has only three active traders while seven other lots are vacant.

The facilities in the area are poor — there is no proper lighting, toilet doors are broken, grass is overgrown, tables and benches are in deplorable condition and there is an unkempt playground nearby.

Taman Meru food court traders action committee chairman Nor Rizan Abdul Rani, 53, said they were shocked to receive the notice as she claimed MBI had not spoken to them about the matter.

Nor Rizan, who sold a few types of ketchup among other homemade items, said the city council informed stakeholders on Oct 6 during a town hall session of its plans to transform the food court into a tahfiz (religious school).

“The reason given was that many stalls were unoccupied, the food court received lukewarm response and that the place was a hub for the homeless and drug addicts.

“However, all stakeholders disagreed with the proposal because this is the only food court in the residential area,” she said, adding that MBI should instead upgrade the food court to encourage more traders to set up business there.

Nor Rizan said when the traders protested, MBI suggested that cabins be constructed near the playground for them to run their stalls.

“That too did not go down well with the traders,” she said in a press conference that was also attended by Manjoi assemblyman Datuk Asmuni Awi.

Another trader, Siti Holijah Abdul Razak, 50, a single mother who runs a food stall at the premises, said this was her only income and the residents nearby were her regular customers.

“I employ another single mother and this is also her sole income.

“What are we going to do if our only source of income is taken away?

“As it is, we have suffered because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If we have to vacate or move elsewhere, we will be badly affected,” she added.

Asmuni said the stalls would be transformed into classrooms to accommodate 100 students.

He opined that the site was not conducive for lessons as it was located too close to the main road, Jalan Jelapang.

“Besides, there are a primary school, a religious school and a government kindergarten located near the food court now.

“Having another school there with some 100 children will cause further traffic congestion,” he said.

He added that MBI should instead beautify and upgrade the existing food court to attract more traders.

Al-Muttaqin Taman Meru mosque chairman Jamaludin Mat agreed that the food court should be made more presentable to get unlicensed traders nearby to move there.

“The road leading to the residential area is already congested during school hours,” he said.

Ipoh mayor Datuk Rumaizi Baharin said MBI was now in discussion over the new school proposal and there was no decision yet on the matter.

“If there are residents or traders who object to the proposal, we have no problems cancelling the project,” he added.

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