SIBU: Kanowit PKR has engaged a team to provide legal advice team to 50 native hawkers who had their goods confiscated by the Kanowit District Council (KDC) on Thursday (May 2) for defying an order to relocate from the multi-purpose market to new premises in Jalan Bungalow here.
Its chairman George Chen said the legal team would find ways to help the traders who have been in a financial crisis due to the loss of income following the council's directive.
The affected traders had, in March last year, moved to the new premises but left as they found that they could not earn even RM5 a day due to poor response.
Following that, KDC issued a new directive for them to move to Jalan Bungalow again by April 1 this year, but they failed to do so.
Enforcement officers from the council, with the assistance of their
counterparts in Sarikei and the police, arrived at the site at 9.30am Thursday and confiscated their goods and canopies while also demolishing the trading site.
Video clips of the raid have gone viral on social media.
This prompted Chen to issue a press statement, describing the action of the enforcement officers was a “heartless act”.
“They have been forced to move to the so-called ‘bus terminal’ without bus services, and most of the hawkers could not even earn RM5 a day due to the lack of crowds.
“As a consequence, most of them lost their source of income, while having to support children and elderly relatives at home,” he said.
Chen also condemned KDC for being inconsiderate by engaging Sarikei District Council enforcement officers and the police in taking such stern action against the hawkers.
Attempts to contact KDC chairman Catherine Lalai failed as she was not available for comment.