Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Market traders cry foul over huge fee - The Star

Jun 11, 2008 By STUART MICHAEL

THE current economic environment is certainly not too friendly to the petty traders and hawkers. With the recent big increase in petrol price, accompanied by the spiral price increase of other essential items, these people are surely facing a difficult time.

But, instead of helping these people tide over the hard times, the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) is using a company it has set up to charge the morning market traders at Bukit Rahman Putra in Sungai Buloh an annual fee of RM1,600 each.

The traders feel that the fee imposed on them by Laman Bunga Raya Sdn Bhd is too stiff and unjustified.

Not happy: Sivarasa (second from left) talking about his meeting with Zainal Abidin on the issue.

According to Subang MP R. Sivarasa, the council only charges Laman Bunga Raya RM1,200 a year for the piece of two-acre land but the company is charging each trader RM1,600 a year.

“This does not make any sense. The market traders are willing to pay a reasonable fee of about RM50 a month, which amounts to RM600 a year each,” Sivarasa said.

“The high charge of RM1,600 is unfair and unjustified, especially when the company is owned by the council,'' he said.

Sivarasa met council president Zainal Abidin Azim at the MPS building in Bandar Baru Selayang on Monday to raise the matter.

Sivarasa said he would have another meeting with Zainal to seek a solution on the issue.

“Why should the council own a company? Who is behind such a scheme?''

Sivarasa said he had asked Zainal the two questions on Monday but was not given any answer.

Sivarasa also said for the sake of residents in the area, the morning market at BRP7/1 should be relocated.

“The traders have agreed that the market be relocated to an abandoned TNB sub-station about 500 metres away from the current venue,” he said.

Sivarasa also said he asked Zainal why the council had approved 200 more permits for the night market at Desa Aman Puri in Kepong, which was already congested with 300 stalls.

He said increasing the number of traders at Desa Aman Puri to 500 would cause the already chaotic traffic situation there to worsen.

According to Sivarasa, all the revenues generated from the market permits are not credited to the council but to certain individuals and the respective residents associations.

“If such a scheme is allowed, the local councils are deprived of income from the public services and facilities. It is estimated that with so many night markets in Selangor, the local councils lose up to RM30mil a year,” Sivarasa said.

He said such a huge amount of income could be used for better purposes like road maintenance and streetlights.

Sivarasa urged the Selangor government to review such practices by the councils.

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