SIBU: The Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) has never practised discrimination in allocating sites to the traders at Taman Indah Tamu here, contrary to a claim stated in a recent social media post, which has gone viral.
The post depicts the Dayak traders operating their stalls on the grassy compound along the roads, and the Chinese traders running their operations on the concrete lots at the weekend market.
In clarifying the issue, SMC Market and Petty Traders Committee deputy chairman Councillor Augustine Merikan points out that the weekend market at Jalan Indah is a multi-racial establishment and any Sarawakian with valid trading permit is allowed to trade there.
As such, he regards the claim about the weekend market ‘being monopolised by one race’ as ‘being untrue, and is a complete non-issue’.
He also dismisses the social media post as being ‘one-sided’, adding that the individual who uploaded the post was ignorant about the situation.
“The SMC did not set up the weekend market solely for one race. The whole intention is to get traders of all races together,” he said in a press conference yesterday, which was also attended by SMC deputy chairman Bujang Abdul Majid and SMC Market and Petty Traders Committee chairman Councillor Albert Tiang.
On the post showing the Dayak traders operate on the grassy compound, Augustine said they were the non-permit traders – meaning that they could only set up stalls there, and not on the concrete lots.
“We assure you that these (Dayak) traders would be allowed to trade on the concrete lots once they have received their permits, which they have already applied from the council,” he added.
Augustine said when the weekend market was relocated to Jalan Indah on Aug 1 from its previous site at Jalan Mahsuri, there were initial concern about it ceasing to be popular among the shoppers.
Moreover, his side had received lots of complaints about the relocation.
However, he later observed that since the relocation, the new site had been receiving almost 2,000 people every weekend.
“The response was overwhelming – a big surprise, indeed,” he said.
In this respect, Augustine said the weekend market at Jalan Indah initially drew 114 traders, but the number gradually grew to 135 – the majority of whom are Chinese traders.
“They’re the earliest group who took up the offer to be relocated to Taman Indah Tamu,” he said.
Augustine then called upon the public to exercise patience and understanding, assuring them that SMC would never practise any form of discrimination in undertaking its tasks and implementing policies.