File Photo.

SIBU: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) has relocated its Pasar Tamu from Jalan Mahsuri to Taman Indah as the former venue was unable to comply with the standard operating procedures of the recovery movement control order.

SMC Chairman Clarence Ting, yesterday said that those who questioned the rationale behind the move were obviously unaware of this fact.

Among them was Pelawan assemblyman, David Wong.

“We are still facing the Covid-19 pandemic but it is apparent there are some who are only talking about the move and SMC is not listening to their views.

“Economic concerns are important. But during this pandemic, health concerns are paramount and prevention of Covid-19 is still SMC’s primary concern above all.”

According to Ting, the Sunday market started in 2001 after the Central Market opened and there were illegal vegetable sellers at the back lane of Jalan Khoo Peng Loong.

He said the SMC hawker committee then proposed to move the illegal vegetable sellers to Jalan Mahsuri but met much resistance.

After three months of strict enforcement, all the traders finally agreed, he recalled.

 Ting said at that time, the council was willing to consider giving space to non-licensed traders who were mostly vegetable planters. 

“In order to give the planters more income, SMC allowed them to trade on Sunday,” he explained.

But after 20 years, Ting said the vegetable planters’ business had flourished until some of them could even open supermarkets or shops to sell their produce.

Eventually, many traders from other districts also set up stalls at the Pasar Tamu.

Ting said instead of selling local farm produce, the larger stalls were now selling imported fruits and vegetables.

Besides that, many stalls at the Sunday market were also set up by existing licensed traders at the Central Market.

On the new site for the Pasar Tamu at Taman Indah, Ting said, “It is considered far by some, but not for the thousands of people staying in Sg Merah, UCTS, Taman Indah, Ulu Sg Merah and Rantau Panjang housing development areas.