KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — Representatives from 16 Ramadan bazaar and night market associations today said they will not comply with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) move to manage their stalls until proper guidelines are drawn up.
A two-hour meeting between them and DBKL officers today failed to resolve their differences, with traders accusing City Hall of messing up what they claim to be an already structured and well-operated system under them.
Taman Tun Dr Ismail Traders Welfare Association representative Raja Zakaria Raja Hamid said they were already doing a good job in managing all aspects of both the Ramadan bazaars and night markets, including safety and hygiene matters.
He said DBKL was creating problems by taking over the markets’ operations as they did not have discussions with them earlier and in addition, they did not have enough staff to handle issues that could arise.
“So today’s meeting led to a dead end,” Raja Zakaria told reporters after the meeting.
However, he said they were still open to discussions with DBKL for an amicable solution.
The group said they will not cooperate with City Hall until it issues a clear guideline on how it wishes to manage both the Ramadan bazaars and night market operators.
Gulam Muszaffar Gulam Mustaqim, a spokesman for a night market association, said this was because the associations do not want to be drawn into problems that result from DBKL’s oversight.
“It must also be remembered. In the night markets, we have Indian and Chinese traders, whereas the Ramadan bazaars are run by Malay-Muslim traders. So are we to ask the Indian and Chinese traders to let go of their lots in favour of Ramadan bazaar traders?
“They too have a right to their businesses. They also pay for the licence,” Gulam said.
He said DBKL only thought about the night market traders, after collecting payment from Ramadan bazaar traders to operate for 30 days.
Gulam said DBKL now wants the traders’ association representatives to help monitor the situation, which he said would be increasingly difficult with about two weeks left to the start of the fasting month.
He said DBKL has also not provided the list of traders who have already made their payment to allow them to assess the situation.
DBKL opened its online licence application for this year’s Ramadan Bazaars on February 15 in an apparent bid to manage the bazaars fully, without the involvement of any third-party organisers.
However, this sparked dissatisfaction among traders, who reportedly wanted to stick with the existing operations of the bazaars.
On February 21, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad reportedly said that DBKL will stay firm on its decision to fully handle the Ramadan bazaars in KL, insisting that the new policy would provide fair opportunities to all traders as well as eliminate monopolies and the “Ali Baba” culture.