AFTER months of waiting, traders at the Bangsar night market were finally able to meet with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) on Wednesday to discuss their grievances. The meeting was arranged by the Public Complaints Bureau (PCB).
The Bangsar Night Market special action committee had lodged a complaint with the PCB five months ago over the traders’ dissatisfaction with the relocation plan imposed on them by the DBKL early this year.
In the relocation plan implemented in January, the wet-market traders and food stalls were relocated from Jalan Telawi 3 to Jalan Telawi 1.
Those selling dry goods like shoes and clothing were moved to the rooftop of the Jolly Green Giant Food Court.
Since the relocation, many problems have cropped up. The traders are furious with the alleged lack of transparency in the allocation of trading lots.
The traders said they had not been given access to the trading lot plan, and were unhappy that newcomers were given more strategic trading lots.
Some of the old traders who used to have two lots are now given just one lot each.
The dry goods traders have complained that their businesses suffered following their separation from the wet market and food stalls.
According to committee advisor Khong Chee Seng, the traders are appreciative of the PCB for calling the Wednesday meeting as their request for a meeting with the DBKL since February had fallen on deaf ears all the while.
The two-hour meeting at the PCB office in Kuala Lumpur was chaired by Kuala Lumpur and Selangor PCB director Asmawar Samat.
Those present were DBKL officers, Bangsar Night Market Special Action Committee officials and night market traders.
Khong said that following the intervention of the PCB, the DBKL had agreed to consider a short-term plan of moving some 100 traders operating at the Jolly Green Giant Food Court to Jalan Telawi 2.
“We are happy with the decision as the business of the traders operating at the rooftop of the food court had been greatly affected following their separation from the wet market and food stalls,” Kong said.
According to shoe trader Abdul Rahman Sulaiman, 44, who was present at the meeting, his business has slowed down since the relocation and many of his customers are unhappy with the move as they have difficulty finding their way to his stall at the food court rooftop.
“My customers have been complaining that the staircases to the rooftop are always blocked by vans and trucks unloading goods,” he said.
“The night market on Sundays is a popular stop among tourists and foreigners but many of them could not find the stalls selling clothes and accessories as they did not know that we are on the rooftop,” Rahman said.
Jessie Loo and her husband, who operate the Pearl Tea stall, said that they had initially occupied two lots inherited from her father who had started the business there more than 10 years ago.
“Following the relocation, our stall only occupies one trading lot, next to a vegetable stall,” the 26-year-old Loo said.
She said that most of the stalls around her stall sold fresh stuff like vegetables and they usually closed early, leaving her no choice but to close early as no customer would come near after the other stalls packed up.
“If I operate my business after 8pm, my stall will be the only one on the street,” said Loo, whose stall used to be among the dry goods stalls, which operated till 10pm.
According to Loo’s husband Lim Wai Choy, there are too many stalls along Jalan Telawi 1, causing it to be overcrowded.
“Many of my customers have stopped visiting the night market as it is too crowded. People are pressing against each other now,” Lim said.
Meanwhile, Khong said that the PCB would conduct spot checks at the night market to see if the allegations by the traders were true.
He said the DBKL and PCB would also call for another meeting soon on the short-term move of the 100 traders to Jalan Telawi 2.
Khong urged traders who had left their lots at the food court area after the slowdown in business to contact him.
“Many are still paying rent for their lots but are not operating as their business is bad on the rooftop. I urged them to open their stalls again if the move to Jalan Telawi 2 is finalised,” Khong said.
Khong can be contacted at 017-878 2881.