‘Outsiders ruining our Deepavali business’

THE Johor Indian Petty Traders Association wants the city councils to help local traders earn a fair income in view of the coming Deepavali celebration.

Its chairman D. Ravindran said association members have been subjected to unfair competition from organisers from other states who are allowed to hold Deepavali expositions at local malls.

Vimala claims local traders are charged RM7,000 rental to set up stalls in the expos at malls.Vimala claims local traders are charged RM7,000 rental to set up stalls in the expos at malls.

“We would like to request intervention from the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) and Iskandar Puteri City Council (MBIP) on this matter as the organisers are not from Johor.

“They have damaged our petty traders’ businesses by organising Deepavali expos in the city on rotation,” he told reporters at the Arulmigu Rajamariamman Devasthanam temple in Johor Baru.

Ravindran claimed that organisers of the expositions were from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor who often sold poor quality clothes to visitors at a low price.

“Their goods are shipped in bundles and are of questionable quality plus the majority of their workers are foreigners,” he said, adding that local traders affected by the Covid-19 pandemic were struggling to keep their businesses afloat.

“Non-Johoreans have monopolised the market and the victims are petty traders who have trouble paying their rent and arrears to the local councils, which these outsiders do not do,” he added.

Textile trader I. Vimala, 55, said the organisers also set high rental to deter the locals from participating in the arranged expositions.

“Their modus operandi is simple. They run their expos at different malls weekly, rotating around the city. The organisers are the same people selling the same cheap stuff to the public.

“They charge around RM7,000 to the local petty traders who wish to be part of their expos, which is absurd,” she said, adding that such a move would kill the local market if left unchecked.

Gurinder says it is unfair to bring in outsiders when they do not contribute to the local economy.Gurinder says it is unfair to bring in outsiders when they do not contribute to the local economy.

Another trader, Gurinder Birsingh, 64, said malls in the state should prioritise helping local traders and not open the market for outsiders to take advantage.

“We are selling the same goods with better quality, so why must they bring outsiders into the local market?

“It’s unfair because they are using locals to apply for the licence to operate while the business is managed by outsiders who do not even contribute to the local economy,” he said.

Johor Baru mayor Datuk Mohd Noorazam Osman said MBJB had approved three Deepavali expositions in the city after receiving the organisers’ applications.

“The licence given is temporary, which is usually for promotional activities in the shopping complex foyer.

“They are given in line with MBJB’s policy approved in 1998 and after the organiser meets all requirements including submitting all necessary forms,” he said, adding that the council had no power to stop any exposition as long as they did not touch on the sensitivity of race and religion.

Iskandar Puteri mayor Datuk Haffiz Ahmad, however, said MBIP did not receive any application to hold expositions in areas under its jurisdiction.

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