The recent relocation of the Bangsar night market to Jalan Telawi has caused an uproar among the traders.
Not only do they have to move to new territory, they have also been told to purchase designated tents and stalls for the new plots.
“Doing business is all about familiarity. People have been coming to the same spot for the past three years and now they won’t be able to find me anymore,” complained Ong Cheng Siong.
“And what’s this about having to buy the tents and stalls? They didn’t even tell us how much it is!” he added.
Food hawkers like Ong face a big dilemma, as they are no longer allowed to operate from their trucks. It is a common practice among night market food traders all over the Klang Valley to set up their trucks as stalls for convenience.
“My truck is part of my branding because of the layout and the design that was specially created for the purpose of selling food. It is very hard for me to set up stalls and rearrange all my products,” said mini steamboat stall operator Foong Kah Yin.
“I don’t understand why we are allowed to use our trucks everywhere else but here. We bought these trucks only because we could utilise them,” added Foong.
The hawkers also claim that the notice for the relocation was only given out one week prior to the move and they did not have enough time to prepare for it.
“We received the notice one week before the move but there was no mention that we are not allowed to use our trucks,” said sugar cane seller Lee Saw Ying.
“They didn’t even allow our trucks to enter the night market area on the first day of the relocation even though we were not informed,” Lee added.
“I think I must have lost at least RM 1000 in sales that night,”
For the hawkers, having to relocate and to purchase the tents and stalls is just like starting out their businesses again because of the capital costs incurred.
A City Hall spokesman said the new guidelines on tents and stalls are for reasons of uniformity.
“We want to create an image of uniformity and hygiene hence the blue tents and stalls,” he said.
“We still don’t know how much the props cost that’s why we cannot tell the hawkers anything,”
He added that the new plots are 1.83 meter x 0.9 meters and the food trucks will take up more space than that.
“We want to be fair to everyone so the food hawkers will have to set up stalls instead.”