Lo (third left) receives a souvenir from Kuching City South Hawkers and Traders Association chairman Tan Choon Yong while (from left) Kapitan Kuan Ted Chai, Cr Amy Tnay, Penghulu Thian Sing Hwa and Third Mile Hawker Association Chairman Ho Yian Choon look on. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: A new hawker centre that can house about 30 hawkers in Mile 7 will be constructed very soon, said Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Lo Khere Chiang.

He explained that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg approved an allocation of RM2.5 million for the purpose.

“This project is a short-term plan where it (hawker centre) will be placed near the 688 premises in Mile 7. The reason (short-term) is because we are finding places for hawkers to do their business.

“Currently, the project is in its discussion phase and we hope it will start this year. If not this year, then maybe early next year,” he said, adding that the centre could be completed within one year.

Lo, who is also the Batu Kitang assemblyman, added that the existing hawkers in the area would be placed at the new centre.

“However, we will have to see who is eligible because there are a lot of them from different areas, and they come to Mile 7 just to trade.

“We have to control this. We cannot give (the spot) to everybody. The new hawker centre is able to house about 30 hawkers.

“We will prioritise local hawkers first, those who come down from their kampung to bring their RM15 to RM30 produce to sell here,” he told the press after attending a dinner with two hawker associations — Kuching South and Third Mile — last Sunday.

Apart from that, under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), the council has long-term plans to enlarge the hawker centres in Mile 3 and Mile 7.

This is due to the markets being 30 years old, and the number of hawkers and residents are increasing.

“Hence, the market will not be big enough for the hawker and resident population. It is high time to enlarge and add more business areas in both markets where some parts will be upgraded and some will have new facilities,” he stated, adding that this plan is in the planning.

He noted that the council wanted to build a bigger hawker centre in order to serve the increasing residents in MPP areas.