Traders fume over sudden hawking ban

Shafie Ahmad,63, of Pantai Johor, inspecting some of the packed laksam inside his kancil car at Pantai Johor Night Market after city concil stopped and ceased the operation of the Pantai Johor Night Market effective 1st August 2014 at Pantai Johor, Alor Setar, Kedah yesterday. He had prepared about 140 packets of laksam, laksa and beehoon soup for selling at the night market every Friday in a week. He suffered losses of about RM400. The laksam, laksa and bee hoon soup were sell at RM2.50 per packet. He had been selling the laksam, laksa and bee hoon soup for the passed 28 years. The relocation notice was too short and too rush.

SOME 100 traders at the Pantai Johor night market here are fuming over the Alor Setar City Council (MBAS)’s decision not to allow them to operate.

The night market, held every Friday for the past 22 years, is held along a 200m stretch of road along Pantai Johor in Alor Setar, Kedah.

It was learnt that about 10 MBAS enforcement officers had gone to the night market at 3pm on Friday to stop the traders from setting up their stalls.

Police were also present to control the traffic.

Fishmonger Johari Salleh, 42, said the traders there had not received any notice from MBAS about not being allowed to operate there.

“I came here at 3pm to set up shop and the enforcers came, stopping us from doing so by giving excuses that the night market has been causing traffic congestion.

“All these while it was fine and during Ramadan, this place was occupied daily,” he said when met at the night market.

Laksa and fried bihun seller Shafie Ahmad, 63, said his rice bowl would be affected as he ran his food business only on Fridays.

“I’ve been making a living selling laksa and fried bihun here for some 20 years.

“My wife and I woke up at 3am to prepare the ingredients. I wonder what we are going to do with all these food?” he sighed.

Northern Micro and Small Traders Organisation (U-Mikro Kedah) chairman Mohd Naim Ismail, 38, said a banner was put up on the eve of Hari Raya, stating that the night market would cease operating on Aug 1.

“But who gave the order?

“This is not valid as no notices were given to the individual traders.

“If they were required to vacate, at least they should have been given a proper place so that they can continue with their business,” Mohd Naim said, adding that the traders would lodge police reports against MBAS for the losses they suffered.

When contacted, Alor Setar mayor Datuk Mat Noh Ahmad said MBAS was not shutting the traders’ business but the traders would be relocated elsewhere due to the traffic congestion caused by the Pantai Johor night market.

“MBAS found a new plot of land in Jalan Suka Menanti, some 1km away, for the traders to relocate or they can opt to be placed at the existing four other night market locations.

“As the traders are not permanently stationed there, we did not issues any written notices to them but we did hang a banner to announce the matter on July 23.

“The plan to relocate them was mooted since 2010 but was not executed due to several reasons,” he added.

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