Free trading licence a ‘good initiative’

Grilled goods: Rosmariana preparing fish cake satay to be sold at her stall. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The number of street vendors in Kuala Lumpur has been mushrooming since the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) liberalised the requirements of the trade to ease the people’s burden during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Applications started pouring in in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya since the Federal Territories Ministry declared the Federal Territories as “free trading areas” for six months starting Nov 15.

As of Dec 2, Bandar Tun Razak recorded the highest number of applications, with 516 out of over 2,600.

Pub singer Amri Roshdy, from Kuala Lumpur, resorted to helping out at his sister-in-law’s stall in Jalan Tasik Permaisuri to cope with the economic situation.

“Previously, I performed as a singer in several pubs around Kuala Lumpur, but due to the closure of pubs, I have lost my income source.

“I now help my sister-in-law several days a week selling tauhu begedil from 10am to 6pm, ” he said.

Amri, 27, also said since the implementation of the initiative by DBKL, there were many stalls around the area.

“The authority (DBKL) occasionally visits the area to check our licences and if anyone does not have one, they will ask the operator to apply online, ” he added.

Despite the rollout of the initiative to help those facing difficult times, he hoped the government would introduce more assistance for people who work in informal sectors like him.

Another stall owner in the same area, who wanted to be known only as Rosmariana, 44, said she was in the process of applying for the licence from DBKL.

“It is a good initiative by the council. They will usually come here to conduct surveys on our conditions and advise people to register their businesses and get licensed, ” said the fish cake satay seller.

Rosmariana, who operates her stall on her own, said the pandemic has indeed impacted her business.

She added that people are adapting well by exploring different ways to purchase her food.

“I understand that some people would want to reduce physical interaction, so I introduced a drive-through service so customers do not have to get out from their cars, ” she said.

Malay traditional kuih seller Nursyahira Izzati, 27, said her business was not really affected by the pandemic because she has regular customers as she has been operating for almost eight years.

She supported the DBKL initiative to allow people to open stalls in the city, especially in Bandar Tun Razak.“There have been more traders recently and that is good because more customers are coming to the area, ” said the trader, who owns four other branches in Klang Valley.

Malaysians aged 18 and above can apply for the temporary licence for free until March 31 next year, with the licences valid until April 15.

“After that period, traders can decide whether to continue and it is up to DBKL to review the licence, ” said Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

“I have also appointed the Federal Territory Residents Representative Councils from the respective zones to help manage this programme, which aims to help those who have lost their income amid this difficult time, ” said Annuar.

Approvals are at DBKL’s discretion, with particular attention to whether the stall will obstruct traffic or pedestrians.

Prohibited items, trades and services include alcohol, tobacco products including vape, kiddy rides, bicycle rentals and haircuts.

Those selling food and drinks must be vaccinated against typhoid and the stall, which cannot be a permanent structure, can only be at one fixed location to provide takeaway services only.

According to DBKL, the sale of food and beverages made up 76% of the applications, while only 381 applications, or 15%, were for “dry” items such as clothes.

Applications to sell fruits and “wet” items such as raw food contributed 6.3% and 2.7%, respectively.

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