Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hawkers, petty traders want reps in all local councils - NST

IPOH, Wed: April 23, 2008 By P. Chandra Sagaran

Hawkers and petty traders, including those trading in markets, want their representatives to be appointed as councillors in local councils, so that their problems especially when dealing with councils enforcement officers, can be heard.

Malaysian Federation of Hawkers Association chairman Datuk Ghai Soo Ming said as poor businessmen, they should not be penalised for minor offences as it affects their rice bowl.

He was speaking to reporters after leading a 25-member delegation to meet Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin here on Tuesday. The federation, which has a membership of 150,000, is meeting all Pakatan Rakyat state governments to forge a closer rapport and raise problems faced by the members.

They had met Penang state government on March 26 and would meet Selangor state government tomorrow.

"By appointing our representatives, we can offer feedback before any policies that involve hawkers and traders are made,” he said.

Ghai suggested that local councils set up a hawker’s information unit for hawkers to channel their problems. The unit would also be an avenue where hawkers can obtain information on new policies and regulations. “Several councils had set up the unit and we hope the rest will follow.”

Ghai said there were members who claimed that trading licences were issued to certain organisations, who in turn lease the licences to hawkers at a high fee.

“The federation wants local councils to issue the licences through the hawkers associations to stop such abuses.”
The Housing and Local Government Ministry should also formulate a uniform administrative policy for all local authorities, he said.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Nizar said the state government cannot make immediate changes or amendments to the present administration of local councils as not all Barisan Nasional councillors had submitted their resignations.

Some BN councillors had resigned after the Pakatan Rakyat government took over the state, while others have yet to submit their resignation letters.

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