SIBU: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) is looking at the possibility of issuing a temporary license for traders at the Pasar Tamu of the Central market and Sunday Market at Mahsuri Road when they reopen.
SMC Market and Petty Traders standing committee chairman Albert Tiang said this was part of the council’s effort to control and manage the number of traders once the two markets are reopened.
He said the matter would be discussed at the council’s meeting this week.
Throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) and Conditional MCO, the council had stopped trading at the Pasar Tamu and Sunday Market. SMC has not made a decision on when they would reopen.
Tiang said the Pasar Tamu and Sunday Market each had about 200 traders who were allowed to operate during weekends without a license.
He explained that SMC currently charges traders RM1 per day for a lot on a first-come-first-serve basis on the traders.
“What the traders normally do is that they either spend overnight there or they come early just to occupy the place they want to trade. Once we come up with the temporary license, these traders will have permanent lots for a certain period,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted.
Thus, once it is confirmed, interested traders can register with the council and the priority of the approval of the application would be given to the traders from Sibu.
“It is the directive from our chairman that SMC first and foremost serve and take care of the traders and businesses in Sibu. If we can cut down the traders from outside Sibu, I think the space will be enough to cater for those local farmers or traders,” he said.
He said some 40 per cent of the traders at the Pasar Tamu and 30 per cent at the Sunday Market were from outside SMC’s jurisdiction.
“We have traders from Bintangor, Sarikei, Julau, Kanowit and towns nearby Sibu to trade at Pasar Tamu and Sunday Market.
“So, with the inter-district travel restrictions lifted, I believe all those traders will come back soon,” he said.
Expecting the crowd at the Pasar Tamu and Sunday Market to swell, Tiang said the council would come up with a new standard operating procedure (SOP) to ensure that these markets would not be overcrowded.
“We will come up with a new SOP; just like the coffee shop whereby every stall will be about three metres distance from one another.
“With the new SOP, we cannot cater for every trader; we have limited lots for them, so the number of traders has to be cut down. That is why we need this temporary license so that we can manage the number of traders.
“This is a necessary measure we need to take because SMC cannot just wait for problems to arise and then only, we do something,” he said.
He revealed that the council would also expand the Sunday Market to Chew Sik Hiong Road.
Meanwhile, Tiang said the trading on rotation basis that the licensed hawkers at the Central Market were practicing under MCO was likely to end soon.
He also said that the crowd control at the Central Market was still on-going with members of the public can only enter through the five main entrances after their temperature is taken.