JOHOR has requested for a RM1.5mil allocation from the Federal Government to build a food court in Taman Desa Mutiara people’s housing project (PPR).
The food court with 13 stalls will be located on the same site as Gerai PPR Desa Mutiara, which has 40 single-storey shoplots where traders at the PPR were relocated to recently.
Johor housing and local government committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor said with the additional 13 stalls, there would be enough to cater to all the traders running food and beverage businesses in the area.
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He said that while the new shoplots were small and could not accommodate diners, the new food court would be big enough to place tables and chairs for customers to dine in.
“As a temporary measure, 13 traders who did not get a trading space will be allowed to operate from the new food court,” he told StarMetro at his office in Kota Iskandar.
On the absence of electricity and water supplies at Gerai PPR Desa Mutiara, he said the matter would be addressed soon.
Mohd Jafni, who is Bukit Permai assemblyman, said the state decided to demolish the illegal stalls along Jalan Desa Mutiara as the matter had been ongoing for seven years and it was time for the government to take action.
“The illegal stalls have been running and operating on stolen electricity and water supplies that they got from unsafe tapping and wiring.
“There was a case last year where one of the illegal wiring connections fell, which prompted us to take more serious action by involving Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).”
It was not a rash decision by the state, said Mohd Jafni.
"Johor Housing Development Corporation (PKPJ) had advised the traders to vacate the illegal premises for the past seven years, but the advice fell on deaf ears.
“So considering the risk it posed and for the greater good, we called the Tebrau MP and Puteri Wangsa assemblyman offices for a joint meeting with the traders’ associations.”
He said the decision to demolish the illegal structures was made together in December last year.
However, the association made a plea to postpone the decision to January, which he said PKPJ obliged.
“Then another letter came pleading to postpone it until after the fasting month, and then another suggesting after Hari Raya.
“There was no end to their request. We gave them ample time to move out since December, which they did not do,” he said, adding that the government did not have the obligation to provide another food court as the Local Government Development Ministry had built enough shops.
Mohd Jafni said the stall selection was made through an open ballot.
“Our investigations found that some of the traders had rented out the illegal stalls to foreigners.
“Some made garages to store their vehicles and there was also a barn for cows. It had gotten out of hand,” he said, adding that there were also issues of unhygienic practices.
Regarding the rubble clean-up, Mohd Jafni said the process would take about three months to be completed.