SEREMBAN: Newspaper agents here are crying foul after being told by the Seremban City Council (MBS) that they are not allowed to sell newspapers while the movement control order (MCO) is in force.
One agent, Ganesh Raj, 52, who operates along Jalan Yam Tuan here claimed he was told by council personnel on their rounds on Thursday morning (March 19) that the newspaper business was not listed as essential in a circular issued by the MBS.
"They told me that there is no mention of newspaper in their circular. And if I continued to do so, they will slap me with a summons," he said adding that he was ordered to close his shop in 30 minutes.
Ganesh, whose family has been running the business where he also sells magazines, expressed hope the authorities would allow them to continue to operate.
"We cannot do anything because the papers get sent here by the media companies.
"How can we just close shop and do nothing about it?" asked Ganesh, who also distributes various newspaper titles to vendors.
He said it made little sense to allow newspapers to be sold in convenience stores but not in premises like his.
"Also, newspapers are a very important source of information.
"We understand that the government is doing everything to fight Covid-19, but why stop people from coming to our shop to just pick up the paper and leave?
"They do not hang around here after paying for their newspaper," he said.
Another agent along Jalan Kong Sang here decided to put a table outside his premises to sell newspapers.
"I decided to set up the table because being an agent, I need to sell the papers.
"But I do not allow people to enter my shop. They will have to stand outside and make payment for whatever newspaper they wished to buy," said the agent.
Agents in Port Dickson are not facing any problem yet.
An agent in Lukut said Port Dickson Municipal Council officers came to his premises earlier on Thursday but they only snapped photographs.
"They did not tell me anything. I hope they will not stop us from selling," he said.
Negri Sembilan Newspaper Vendors' Association Lee Chi Bing said none of his members had been told that they were not to sell or distribute newspapers.
"There are no complaints so far," he said when contacted.
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