Traders forced to pay RM500 to RM1,000 a month, claims Wangsa Maju MP

Wangsa Maju MP Dr Tan Yee Kew being escorted by police after being confronted by some traders at Uptown Danau Kota, Wangsa Maju, yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: Wangsa Maju MP Dr Tan Yee Kew says she is unfazed by name-calling and intimidation she is facing from “gangsters” who are against her relocating 500 hawkers to a new site in her constituency.

She said there are about three to four “groups of gangsters” who have been taking RM500 to RM1,000 a month from traders at Uptown Danau Kota, Wangsa Maju, for the past 12 years.

“They are against the move because they can no longer collect money.

“I have managed to get the traders a temporary site till a new site is ready to stop this bullying. We want them to trade at a proper site,” she told FMT.

Dr Tan Yee Kew.

Tan said during Ramadan, the syndicates had collected between RM4,000 and RM8,000, depending on the location.

“How are these hardworking traders supposed to make any profits like this?” she asked.

Tan was responding to a video posted by former prime minister Najib Razak showing her being escorted by police to her car while some accused her of neglecting the hawkers.

When she tried reasoning with the men why the relocation was important, her voice was drowned out by their shouts.

Tan said the video was shot yesterday when she went to check the area.

She said for the past 12 years, about 500 to 600 hawkers have been trading at Uptown Danau Kota, a residential area with about 10,000 homes.

She said initially, City Hall had issued 300 licences to hawkers 12 years ago but “these numbers kept growing, blocking the road residents used to get to their homes”.

“The traders also prepare char koey teow at the petrol station. If there is a gas leak, the place will blow up,” she said.

Tan added the traders have also blocked the entrance to the petrol station. As a result, she was relocating them to a vacant site opposite their present site.

“The traders are happy with the relocation. They have a proper site and only have to pay about RM200 plus to City Hall. They no longer have to pay up to RM1,000 to these syndicates,” she added.

Tan said the new site has 500 stalls and there are another 60 vacant stalls. “We want genuine traders to trade, not the rent-seekers,” she said.

Those given licences by City Hall 12 years ago but found to have rented them to others will not be allowed to trade.