Chowrasta market traders cry foul over relocation

By Opalyn Mok

GEORGE TOWN, March 16 — A group of traders along Jalan Kuala Kangsar today sought to convince local authorities not to forcibly relocate them to the narrower Jalan Chowrasta.

The group of about 30 traders that claimed to represent all 70 affected stalls held a peaceful protest today demanding that the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) reconsider the decision.

“They are relocating us to create parking spaces along Jalan Kuala Kangsar and the council did not even open this for discussion with us,” one of the traders, Lai Kong Hooi, said.

“Worse of all, the lots are directly in front of the 17 shops in the narrow lane and there’s hardly enough space for us to put up our stalls,” he told reporters today.

Lai Kong Hooi said the council decided to shift them without discussing it with the traders.

He pointed out that the two rows of stalls directly in front of the shops would effectively choke up the lane and leave little space for movement.

There are about 70 market traders who has stalls along Jalan Kuala Kangsar, which is directly behind the Chowrasta Market complex.

The morning market, that has been around for at least 40 years, is open daily from 6am till about noon so the whole road is closed to traffic during that period.

“We don’t understand why MBPP is doing this without consulting us,” Lai said.

One of the traders in the row of shops, Bakar Noordin, called it ridiculous to place the stalls right in front of their entrances.

Bakar Noordin showing the small lots drawn for the traders at Jalan Chowrasta which is narrower than Jalan Kuala Kangsar.

“How will we go in and out? How will our customers go in or out with the stalls blocking our entrances?” he asked.

The traders held a similar protest last week and  handed appeal letters to state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow, Komtar assemblyman and MBPP councillor Ong Ah Teong.

“It is disappointing that they are ignoring our complaints about this because we have valid reasons,” Bakar said.

Penang Parti Amanah chairman Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who was present to meet with the traders today, said he will try to speak with the authorities on behalf of the traders.

“I will meet with Chow to discuss and find a win-win solution for this issue,” he said.