SOPs too restrictive, TAR night market traders postpone reopening

KUALA LUMPUR (June 16): Some 500 hawkers and traders of the Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) pasar malam (night market) have opted to postpone the resumption of their business under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) as the set standard operating procedures (SOPs) are too restrictive.

Lorong TAR Hawkers and Traders Association chairman Azkhalim Suradi said although traders had been allowed to resume operations starting yesterday, they felt that the SOPs should be reviewed as they were found to be quite unreasonable to be applied in a night market.

“The SOPs include social distancing of 1.5m between each eight-square-meter stalls, the barring of children aged below 13 while those aged 60 and above are not allowed to visit the night market.

“In addition, most night markets are not suitable to be cordoned due to limited space. Practising social distancing (for the stalls) will cause most hawkers and traders to be left out due to the limited number of booths allowed,” he told Bernama.

He said hawkers and night market traders would also have to bear losses when the number of visitors allowed at one time is limited.

“We, the night market organisers, admit that hawkers and traders are losing their source of income due to the MCO and the Covid-19 pandemic, but with such SOPs we rather wait out (the RMCO) before resuming business.

“We are currently going over and reviewing the new SOPs with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) before it will be tabled to the National Security Council.

“As long as the SOPs are not agreed by every night market associations and organisers, we won’t be able to resume our operation,” he said.

On June 6, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government has allowed public markets namely open markets, morning markets, night markets and bazaria across the nation to resume operations from June 15 under strict SOPs.

He said the SOPs include operation hours of these markets being limited from 6am to 11am for morning markets and open market, from 4pm to 10pm for night markets and from 5pm to 11pm for bazaria.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan when contacted by Bernama confirmed that DBKL is drafting new SOPs for open markets, morning markets, night markets and bazaria throughout the RMCO period.

“So far they are allowed to resume operations starting Monday but this will be implemented in stages,” he said.

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