Hawkers trading at morning and night markets delay reopening stalls

The situation before such stalls were closed down under MCO. Lorong TAR Hawkers and Traders Association chairman Azkhalim Suradi says they would rather wait out the RMCO before resuming business.

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 500 hawkers and traders of the Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) pasar malam (night market) have opted to postpone the resumption of their business under the recovery movement control order (RMCO) as the set standard operating procedures (SOPs) are too restrictive.

Lorong TAR Hawkers and Traders Association chairman Azkhalim Suradi said although traders had been allowed to resume operations from yesterday, they felt the SOPs should be reviewed as they were found to be quite unreasonable to be applied in a night market.

“The SOPs include social distancing of 1.5 metres between each eight-square-metre stalls, the barring of children aged below 13 while those aged 60 and above are not allowed to visit the night market.

“In addition, most night markets are not suitable to be cordoned off due to limited space.

“Practising social distancing (for the stalls) will cause most hawkers and traders to be left out due to the limited number of booths allowed,” he told Bernama.

He said hawkers and night market traders would also have to bear losses when the number of visitors allowed at one time is limited.

“We, the night market organisers, admit that hawkers and traders are losing their source of income due to the MCO and the Covid-19 pandemic, but with such SOPs, we rather wait out (the RMCO) before resuming business.

“We are currently going over and reviewing the new SOPs with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) before they are passed to the National Security Council.

“As long as the SOPs are not agreed to by every night market association and organisers, we won’t be able to resume our operations,” he said.

On June 6, Senior Minister (Security) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government had allowed public markets, namely open markets, morning markets and night markets across the nation to resume operations from June 15 under strict SOPs.

He said the SOPs included operation hours of these markets being limited from 6am to 11am for morning and open markets, from 4pm to 10pm for night markets and from 5pm to 11pm for bazaria.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur mayor Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, when contacted by Bernama, confirmed that DBKL is drafting new SOPs for open markets, morning markets, night markets and bazaria throughout the RMCO period.

“So far they are allowed to resume operations starting Monday but this will be implemented in stages,” he said.

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