New Donggongon tamu will cater to both locals and tourists

Prime Minister Najib Razak, flanked by Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman (left) and Penampang Umno division head John Ambrose, visiting the popular Donggongon tamu recently.

KOTA KINABALU: The needs of both locals and tourists will be taken into account when work on the new Donggongon tamu (market) starts soon.

Penampang district officer Luvita Koisun told FMT work on the new tamu was expected to start within the next two months, barring any hiccups.

She said traders can expect, among other things, adequate and wider spaces to operate, a loading bay and covered drains.

A second level will be added to accommodate more traders.

“At the same time, customers, including tourists, can look forward to a disabled-friendly facility, a designated tourist bus waiting bay and cleaner toilets.

“Distinctive designs of Penampang’s Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) community will also be incorporated into the market,” Koisun said.

The Penampang district council, which has been tasked with overseeing the project, has already held its preliminary meetings with the consultants and also the Tamu Donggongon Penampang Association.

“We hope work will start by March or April. We are still waiting for the building design and plans from the consultant,” Koisun said.

If the project starts on time, construction is scheduled to finish by the end of the year.

Prime Minister Najib Razak had approved an allocation of RM8.5 million after visiting the market and speaking to traders last Jan 18, saying the area needed an upgrade.

Penampang Umno division chief John Ambrose said the market was not just meant for the locals, but also for visitors, including foreign tourists who liked to savour a piece of the local culture.

“The market will also be people friendly. It must be convenient for the hawkers and visitors.

“Now it’s congested and everyone has difficulty moving around,” he said, adding that convenience will be a key feature of the new market.

Roof leaks when it rains

Koisun said members of the hawkers association had relayed their requests to the council at preliminary meetings.

“The hawkers have complained that the roof of the current market leaks everytime it rains and their business is affected. They also want the drains to be covered.

“We will try to beautify it as much as possible. This also includes the toilets. I’m expecting it to be a five-star toilet,” she said, adding this would also be for the comfort of tourists.

On the KDM design concept, she wants to keep a portion of the original poles, which are made from hard belian wood and put the “sininggazanak” sculpture on top of these poles.

“This figure of either a man or a woman symbolises the boundaries for padi fields for the Kadazan people.

“I want to bring this back and integrate it into the market building design,” Koisun said.

Kadazandusun Murut motifs

“The Donggongon tamu is one of the oldest markets in Sabah and many tourists like to visit this market. This will be something for them to see,” she said

Koisun added that she had also told the consultants to insert KDM motifs in their design for the open space in the middle of the market.

“Other than that, we will upgrade the fish market and provide a loading bay for traders. We will also add one more floor to the market so as to accommodate more traders.”

Koisun said once completed, the market will be able to fit in about 600 traders.

“There are 284 hawkers with tables under shelters now and over 100 who just place their products on the ground,” she added.

But before builders can carry out construction, she said the traders will be moved to a temporary site, just a stone’s throw away from the existing market.

“There is a big parking space near the market. We will make use of this space for the traders and we will build shelters and cement the ground. We’ve to do this before we can start pulling down the structure of the old market,” she said.

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