These Tuaran hawkers must go: Council
Published on: Friday, December 03, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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The make-shift structures look more like squatter shanties than hawker stalls.
Hawkers near a Tuaran commercial property will be asked to vacate the common area at the back of the buildings as they will not be getting new licences to operate in this part of the town.

A District Council spokesman said their existing licences had since expired.

“Some of them appealed to the Local Government and Housing Ministry for help to gain extensions,” he said.

“Officers from the Ministry later checked on the site where they were operating and found it ‘tidak sesuai untuk aktiviti berniaga’ (unsuitable for doing business).”

The Council was informed in writing about the Ministry’s findings and told to revert this common area back to an open space, according to him.

“The Ministry’s letter was tabled at the Full Council meeting on November 29, during which it was also decided that the vendors would be instructed to dismantle any structures which they had put up.”

He said notices to this affect would be issued to the hawkers.

“They will been given a grace period in which to comply. If they fail do so after this, then further action will be taken.”

He did not rule out the possibility of the Council carrying out a demolition exercise.

When asked if the hawkers might be relocated elsewhere in the district, the spokesman said the Council would weigh up the likelihood of doing this.

He was responding to queries from several proprietors at some shophouses, in the vicinity of the stalls, who wanted to know how the hawkers could have been allowed to peddle their wares there.

A Ministry officer points to the name sign for area where the stalls have been set up.

They were made to understand that the area behind the building would be maintained as an open space when they bought their units.

This was according to the development plan approved by the Council at the time.

The group were unhappy about the poor upkeep of the structures, occupied by the vendors. 

They said the area at the back of the shophouses looked more like a “shanty-town” rather the “Uptown” on the name sign.

One of these shop operators said he had related these concerns to the local authorities numerous times over the past few years.

Multiple letters had been sent to the Council and District Office about this, according to him, with the first of these missives dated September 2019. 

Two years later, he was still waiting to receive an official reply to his correspondence.

The individual provided Hotline with copies of this correspondence, which were forwarded to the Council.

When asked how the stalls came to be set up there in the first place, the spokesman said he could not recall as the decision to allow this was made “way before” the Council’s present administration.

“Our personnel were present during the site-inspection carried out by the Ministry’s officers who noted that the stalls did not look safe.

“They also remarked that the surrounding area was dirty and not being looked after properly.”

The interior of one of the stalls shows the odd subdivisions which have been made to these structures.

On the Council’s failure to respond to the proprietor, he said the agency had been unable to do this as his letters had been incomplete.

“It was not that we were unwilling to respond officially. He did not provide us with an address in his letters so we did not know where to send our reply to.

“He should give us these details so that we can fulfil our responsibility to him.”

JAMES of Tuaran said the development plan, he received in December 2001, designated the land behind the two-storey shophouses as being an “kawasan lapang” (open space).

“I am at a loss to understand how it could have been turned into a hawker area,” he said.

He expressed his displeasure about the manner in which the stalls had been modified, with haphazard subdivisions made and fixtures protruding oddly from some walls. 

“A stray spark from the wiring inside these ‘make-shift shops’ is all it will take to set these structures on fire,” he said.

He said this blaze could spread quickly to the adjacent shophouses, endangering the wellbeing of those living and working there.

James also bemoaned the strong ammonia-like stench coming from behind some parts of the commercial property. 

“The manholes in these sections are prone to overflowing. I suspect that the sewer pipes for the shophouses may be clogged because they cannot be cleaned properly.

“The presence of the stalls is likely to be getting in the way of the Council’s efforts to unclog the sewer-line here.”

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