KUCHING: More than 100 representatives of Bumiputera traders staged a peaceful demonstration in Kampung Gita yesterday to say they would not accept the new rental charges imposed by councils statewide.
They felt that the hike in rental would burden them.
Sarawak Bumiputera Enterpreneurs Cooperative Bhd (KUBSB) chairman Razemi Sarbini said the hike was unnecessary.
Small time traders, especially Bumiputeras, had all agreed to previous charges in recent years.
“The local council claimed that the hike in charge was due to a high demand from other traders who want to operate stalls during ‘Pestas’. This is illogical. It seems local councils want to take advantage of the situation to increase their earnings,” he lamented.
He cited an example of the upcoming Pesta Benak in Sri Aman where the organisers were imposing rental of RM300 from RM200 per lot last year.
“This is unfair to us. The lot we are renting is an empty lot. It is a public place with no electricity and canopy provided. Without these amenities, we personally feel that the RM300 rental is too much,” he added.
The organisers intend to extend the trading period from four days to six days during Pesta Benak but the complaint is that Bumiputera traders might lose more.
“We feel that the extension of trading days from four to six days is not necessary because the peak days are only four days of the pesta. It means paying extra cost for the two remaining days,” Sarbini said.
He said traders used to pay RM5 for the rented lot before.
Pesta Benak will be from July 1 to 4.
He feared councils statewide would comply with the charge for Pesta Benak.
“This is illogical because we have other carnivals in the state such as Pesta Kaul, Pesta Nanas, Pesta Ketam, Pesta Sungai Krian, Pesta Baram and many more,” he added.
He commended the effort of councils like Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) for giving affordable rental of RM10 to RM15 per day.
Sarbini called for the relevant authorities to settle their predicament.
“It is better to let KUBSB handle the Bumiputera traders and all matters regarding the trading lots and rental,” he suggested.