MIRI: Despite temporary closure due to the conditional movement control order (CMCO), several local hawkers were found still operating their businesses as usual at the new Lutong Sunday Market here today (Jan 24).
The notice for temporary closure had been given by Miri City Council (MCC) since January 13 as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.
A ground check at the market today found more than five local hawkers were seen operating within the premises while nine others were vending with their boxes and products for sale along the five-foot-way in front of the old Lutong market building.
When asked for comment, most of the hawkers expressed they were facing difficulties during the CMCO and couldn’t even put food on the tables and as such they were forced to resume their business activities as usual as they had no other alternatives, despite the temporary closure notice.
The usual business at the New Lutong Sunday Market starts around 7am.
Some members of MCC’s enforcement team together with the police and Rela personnel were seen arriving at the new market premises around 10am this morning. They only gave verbal warnings to the hawkers.
Meanwhile, Miri mayor Adam Yii when contacted regarding the matter later that day asserted that hawkers must comply with the 14-day CMCO imposed by the government pertaining to the pandemic.
“It is not an easy thing to do, but because we have to make sure that the virus is contained, all must adhere to the instructions given,” he pointed out.
Aware of the hardships faced by petty traders and hawkers categorised as hard-core poor following the implementation of the CMCO, Yii said, the federal and state governments have provided cash assistance aimed at reducing the burden of those who are affected by the 14-day ruling.
The New Lutong Sunday Market officially opened on May 12, 2019 and can house up to 70 traders.
The construction of the project costing RM200,000 (under Datuk Sebastian Ting’s rural transformation project — RTP) began in January 2019 and was completed on April 29 that same year.