KK City Hall gets flak over two-week closure for all markets under its purview

KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu City Hall has announced that all markets under its purview will be closed for two weeks effective Saturday (April 17), which caused discontent among hawkers and traders.

Mayor Noorliza Awang Alip, in a statement on Friday (April 16) night, said the night markets and weekly markets or tamu operations will be halted until April 30, following an increase of Covid-19 cases in the district.

"The closure will depend on case statistics from time to time," Noorliza said in the statement shared in City Hall's Facebook page.

However, many hawkers and vendors have expressed dissatisfaction over City Hall's abrupt decision to halt operations.

Some said the last minute information caused losses to stall operators who did not know what to do with their fresh stock which cannot be sold now.

"They should think about the welfare of us sellers, at least give us a couple of days to clear the raw stock before closing the markets," posted one comment.

A Gaya Street weekly Sunday market vendor, Alexsandra Ken, who sells children's clothing, was surprised with the directive, as there has been no clusters linked to markets.

"I am still fortunate because I do not sell fresh produce, but I will still lose a lot of income because my regular customers know where to find me at the Sunday market," said the 41-year-old mother of four.

On Friday (April 16), state Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said while markets and stalls operations are still allowed during the recovery movement control order areas, the operations will still be based on risk assessment by local authorities in respective areas.

Kota Kinabalu recorded 14 new cases on Friday.

Masidi said while the Sabah government has already prohibited Ramadan bazaars, there was a concern that some markets are slowly turning into a version of Ramadan bazaars with a risk of overcrowding, and urged local authorities to look into this.

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