Traders want cut in rent


hbchow@thestar.com.my 

CITY HALL will soon impose rent on traders at Petaling Street and Jalan Masjid India. 

Since the completion of the beautification and upgrading project at both areas, those plying their trade at lots provided by City Hall have only paid for their annual licences.  

Petaling Street, also known as Chinatown, was upgraded in 2003 at a cost of RM11.3mil while the RM10mil project at Jalan Masjid India was completed at the end of 2004. 

A City Hall spokesman said the local authority would collect rent from traders at Petaling Street before moving on to Jalan Masjid India.  

While the rate for Jalan Masjid India is being finalised, City Hall has offered Petaling Street traders a rate of RM300 per month (static stalls that operate from 9am to midnight), RM150 (static stalls from 9am to 5pm or from 6pm to midnight), RM150 (mobile stalls from 6pm to midnight) and RM500 (stalls with locks). 

However, traders at Petaling Street have appealed to City Hall to further reduce the rate so that their burdens will be lessened.  

The rent includes electricity and maintenance fees. 

Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun, who is helping the traders resolve the issue, said he had brought it up to Federal Territories Minister Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique and written to mayor Datuk Ruslin Hasan. 

“We hope that City Hall will consider our appeal. If they are to impose rent on the traders, let's not have double standards but have the same rates for both Petaling Street and Jalan Masjid India,” he said after a meeting between the traders and senior officers from City Hall's Hawkers and Petty Traders Development and Management Department on Thursday. 

A total of 199 traders had been asked to take up the offer and another 574 will receive their offer letters soon. 

A senior officer, who chaired the meeting, told the traders that City Hall would consider their appeal even though the rent had been reduced by 50% and urged them to accept their offer as City Hall wanted to start the rental system as soon as possible. 

“To ensure the harmony of Petaling Street, City Hall hopes that all traders will run their business themselves and not hire foreigners as assistants,” he said. 

He added that the traders should be courteous and friendly to visitors.  

On the unruliness of Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur Hawkers and Petty Traders' Association vice-chairman Datuk Paduka Ang Say Tee said the presence of City Hall's enforcement officers had not helped project a good image of one of the city's most popular shopping destinations. 

“All the VCD sellers are illegal hawkers and Petaling Street traders should not be made to suffer because of the raids by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.  

“I hope City Hall, the ministry and the hawkers will look into this problem as such raids give a bad impression to tourists,” he said. 

Customers and visitors who have had bad experiences with the traders are encouraged to call the association at 03-2078 7827 or 019-364 4822 (Ms Goh).  

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