Friday, December 2

Claim of hawkers being oppressed by MPP ‘laughable’, says chairman

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Lo (second right) greets the traders during his visit to the new centre at Jalan Bau-Kuching.

KUCHING: Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang views the claim by the opposition, saying that the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) is being oppressive to the Bidayuh hawkers from Kampung Bumbok, as ‘laughable’.

In turn, Lo who is also MPP chairman, questioned back: “Would MPP spend nearly RM1 million in upgrading the roads and drainage, as well as building a new hawkers centre complete with stalls, proper parking lots and access roads for Kampung Bumbok – if our intention was to oppress and leave them (hawkers) devastated?”

He made these remarks when visiting the Bumbok Hawkers Centre at Jalan Bau-Kuching near here on Sunday. Adding on, Lo said MPP had conducted numerous dialogues with the traders at the village hall, the new hawkers centre, and even at the council premises.

According to him, mutual agreements have been forged between all parties on further efforts to be taken towards improving the new hawkers centre, as well as accommodating the needs and comfort of both traders and customers.

“This (accommodation) will include electricity and treated water supply, more internal lightings, sunshades and signboards for the centre and even a storeroom for the hawkers to store all their items – just to name a few.

“Plus, the majority of the traders have agreed to move into the new centre,” he said.

Nevertheless, Lo acknowledged that there are several hawkers who are adamant in staying put at their old stalls.

“In this regard, the eviction order (for the hawkers to refuse to move out of their old stalls) was the result of a collective decision by the council after taking into consideration the arguments heard from all sides.

“If only everybody could cooperate and be willing to trade at the newly-built centre, there would be business for everybody,” he stressed.

Lo pointed out that the unjust implication of wrongdoing on MPP’s side by DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s special assistant Abdul Aziz Isa, shows the political immaturity and puerile behaviour of ‘one who dreams to become a leader someday’.

“Responsibility comes not only in actions, but also through our words. Offensive languages are detrimental to our society, especially to our youths who are our future leaders. So choose your words wisely, and use them responsibly,” said Lo.

He added that Aziz should have had the courtesy to call upon the ‘ketua kampung’ (village headman) to listen to and understand better both sides of the story and consequently, make the effort to bring the two groups together – instead of stirring up sentiments among the traders and creating enemies in the process.

“If Abdul Aziz is truly sincere and concerned about the so-called plight of these traders, he should have not created such misunderstanding that could risk disunity among the people.

“A better solution would have been to bring these two groups together and work on common grounds towards a mutual agreement,” said Lo.