Ramadan bazaar traders want their money back

KUALA LUMPUR (April 17): Many traders who have set up Ramadan bazaar stalls for years will have to miss out this year as the government has decided to ban the operation of Ramadan bazaars in a bid to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysiakini reported today.

The report said Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa has since said on a Facebook livestream that the rental payment for booths at Ramadan bazaars will be carried forward to next year.

“After negotiating and listening to the views of all the traders’ representatives, we have agreed not to hold Ramadan bazaars this year.

“We also agreed all the payment the traders paid this year, including deposits or fees to associations which organise Ramadan bazaars, will be carried forward to next year.

“So next year, they can do business without forking out any new payment,” Annuar had said.

However, several Ramadan bazaar traders in Kuala Lumpur, who were contacted by Malaysiakini, appeared to disagree with this sentiment.

A bazaar trader, Siti Sarah Reyes Abdullah, said it is better for the money to be returned to the traders first.

She said she needed those funds to pay off several necessities for now.

“I really need that money to pay for my house rent. My freezer where I keep my chicken to sell at the bazaar has also stopped working.

“So I think it is better for me to take back the money. I am worried that if I cannot open my stall again next year, I cannot get that money back anymore,” she said to Malaysiakini.

According to Malaysiakini, Siti Sarah, who has been selling honey chicken wings at several Ramadan bazaars in Kuala Lumpur for the past seven years, said she had paid a deposit of around RM2,000.

“There are a few places in Kuala Lumpur where I usually open my stall and it comes up to about RM2,000.

“I paid for the Bukit Bintang bazaar, the Hospital Kuala Lumpur area, the luxury boulevard and also the area around the Pekeliling bus station,” she said.

A fellow bazaar trader, Nur Izatul Hidayah Abdullah who usually opens her stall at the Sri Rampai Ramadan bazaar, also agreed that they should have their deposit and rental returned.

“I agree that the money should be returned. I also need the money.

“We do not know whether next year we will have the chance to run our business and we are scared that if we try to apply for the money back (at that time), it would be difficult,” she said.

Nur Izatul has been selling mee kawah through her in-law’s business at Ramadan bazaars for the past 20 years.

However, another bazaar trader Sofian Iswadi has welcomed the announcement by Annuar.

He said it would make it easier for them to run their business next year.

“I think it is good (that the money is being kept). I do not need to come out with any capital next year to rent a spot,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur mayor Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan also confirmed that they will carry forward the rental funds to next year.

For now, he said, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has not set any leeway if a bazaar trader would like to get their money back this year.

“For now, no (leeway for traders who want their rental money back), but if there is they can contact the DBKL licensing department,” he told Malaysiakini.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had announced a movement control order (MCO) which was effective starting March 18 and has since been extended to April 28. This order was meant to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ramadan is expected to begin on April 23.

Under the MCO, non-essential businesses are not allowed to operate. Restaurants, however, are allowed to operate only for takeaway or delivery orders.

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