MIRI: Miri’s oldest tamu (local market) popularly known as Tamu Kedayan will have a public toilet and new roof soon to bring relief to its 140 hawkers.
Miri mayor Lawrence Lai accompanied by Miri City Council senior officers and Markets, Traders and Hawkers Association chairman and councillor Koh Ek Chong visited the market recently to check its condition and decide on the toilet’s location.
Lai said the council was responding to requests from the hawkers and would approve the budget estimated at RM100,000.
The visit and subsequent announcement stirred excitement among the traders, including food stall owner Amirul Zakry Din, 38, who said they had been asking for the facility for years.
The traders had been using a toilet at a temple across the street but even this convenience ended a year ago when it was closed down.
Tamu Kedayan is regarded as the mother of all tamus in Miri.
Nobody knew when it started, but according to Amirul, it had been there as long as he could remember.
Lai also visited Tamu Muhibbah, Unity Market and Open Air Market, and gave the assurance that the council would look into repairing the roofs and cleaning the drains at these markets.
Tamu Muhibbah, Tamu Kedayan and the market in Permyjaya Tudan are the most popular of the 10 tamus in Miri, which are thronged by locals and Bruneians on weekends.
The word tamu is a convoluted form of temu which means “meet” in Malay, in reference to a popular barter-trading site of bygone eras.
Today’s tamus retain their old charm but have a better environment and facilities.
They are the favourite sites for locals and tourists alike to buy jungle produce and other local products.
Kedayan is the name of a small indigenous community that has its roots in Brunei.
They are found mostly in the Subis, Niah and Bekenu areas in Miri Division and known for their agrarian and entrepreneurial abilities.