SIBU (Oct 3): The decades-old Tiong Hua Road Market here will be demolished after the Public Works Department (JKR) certifies that the building is unsafe, said Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Clarence Ting.
He pointed out that according to the council’s architect, the building had been found to be unsafe but required another government agency to confirm as such.
“Our (SMC) architect already said it (building) is unsafe. We want to seal off the place. We need another (government) agency (as per the usual government procedure) to confirm this (the building is unsafe).
“If JKR certifies (the building is unsafe), we want to knock it down first… we will go through the procedures (to rebuild the market), JKR (to certify the building is unsafe) and then to get (approval for a new building from) SPA (State Planning Authority) and so on,” he told reporters this today after accompanying Minister of Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian to inspect the place.
As for funding for the project, Ting disclosed the council would utilise its reserve fund.
Additionally, he recalled that the market was built in 1975 and this year, was exactly 45 years of its establishment.
Touching on Dr Sim’s visit to the place, Ting explained that this was to enable the minister to see for himself the condition of the building so that he (Dr Sim) will be able to make the necessary when SMC wrote to him later.
As for the temporary placement for the 34 hawkers, Ting said the council had identified few locations for them to continue trading.
Nonetheless, he said the exact location to set up the temporary stalls should be finalised by next week.
He disclosed that all the 34 hawkers including those operating food and drink stalls would be relocated to the temporary trading site.
That aside, Ting repeated his reminders for hawkers not to enter the building in the interest of safety.
Meanwhile, Councillor Joseph Chieng said the council had made the decision to demolish the market.
He pointed out that the most important thing for the council now would be to relocate the affected traders so that they could continue with their livelihood.
SMC Market and Petty Traders Standing Committee chairman councillor Albert Tiang, meanwhile, said they were arranging with Social Security Organisation (Socso) here to set up a kiosk at the market next Thursday to enable hawkers register for the Self Employment Social Security Scheme.
The market, which has 34 stalls, has been closed to the public since last week, after cracks started appearing on the walls of the building.
Also present were political secretary to Chief Minister Michael Tiang, SUPP deputy president and Bukit Assek branch chairman Dato Chieng Buong Toon and SMC architect Joy Natalie Cotter.