CNY cheer in trying times

Festive spirit: Ong (centre, light blue) and Toh (on her right) posing for a picture with the traders.

PETALING JAYA: Traders of a traditional Chinese market in Kuala Terengganu, who have been asked to move out of their decades-old trading area, received some Lunar New Year cheer to ease their hardships.

About 40 merchants of the Kampung Tiong market and food court received an ang pow of RM3,800 each from the Exsim Group, which is developing a commercial and residential centre on the site of the market.

The traders had initially been told to clear the area by the end of November but were granted a reprieve by the developer and allowed to stay on until after Chinese New Year.

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“Our discussions with Mr Lim, the developer, were constructive, and he understood the challenges faced by our hawkers, particularly in times of economic uncertainty,” said hawkers association adviser Dr Monna Ong, referring to Exsim Group managing director Lim Aik Hoe.

“With the New Year approaching, he expressed a desire to offer a gesture of goodwill. He decided to give each hawker a red packet of RM3,800,” said Ong.

“Today, we gathered the hawkers and distributed the ang pow,” said Ong.

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“On behalf of the association, I extend heartfelt thanks to Exsim Group, especially Mr Lim,” said Ong, who is also Terengganu MCA chairman, in a statement.

Ong said she and another association adviser, Toh Seng Kee, would meet with Kuala Terengganu city council officials after the new year to discuss the relocation.

The Kampung Tiong market and food court have been hubs for Kuala Terengganu’s Chinese community for the past 40 years and have sold goods and foods tailored to the community.

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Residents and the market’s supporters said that it was the only one of its kind in Kuala Terengganu that sold non-halal food and beverages and was an integral part of the community.

Last October, the state’s Perikatan Nasional administration decided to take back the land to be developed into a new commercial and residential centre and the traders were asked to leave.

The state government has offered several new sites and venues where the traders could potentially move.

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