Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Petty traders unhappy over rent hike

By Naveen Mathew Menon
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SELAYANG: Thousands of petty traders and food stall operators under the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) are unhappy that rental rates for their stalls have been raised by the council.

Yesterday, about 45 traders operating from stalls in Jalan Len Omnibus in Taman Selayang Baru, sent a petition to the MPS, requesting the council not to raise the rental for the stalls.

Haja Bahavudeen, 53, who sells food such as mee goreng, tosai and idli at his stall here, said it was getting too expensive to rent a stall in the district.

"I have to take care of my wife and two children, one of whom is mentally retarded."

He said with numerous restaurants operating in the area, competition was stiff and he could only make about RM1,000 on a good month.

He hoped the council would not increase the rent for the stalls as the economic situation was not good.

Another affected food operator Au Kam Mooi, 44, who sells yong tau foo from her stall along Jalan Len Omnibus said she was badly in need of money to educate her two daughters.

She said she could make ends meet because her husband was working as a supervisor in a factory.

"Basically, business here is only good during the morning market hours. After that, we don't get much business though we keep our stalls open until 11am," she said.

At a press conference held at a restaurant near the stalls here yesterday, member of parliament for Selayang, William Leong said: "I have received many complaints from traders and stall owners throughout Selayang and Gombak, about this problem," he said.

About 2,500 petty traders and small businesses are affected by the rental hike.

"Stalls like the ones in Jalan Len Omnibus have been set up to give opportunities to people from the lower income group to carry out small businesses.

"I think MPS should not raise the rent for stalls as it is not the right way to increase the revenue of the council," he said.

"We know that the MPS is facing financial difficulties and are trying to find ways to increase their revenue. But, don't take money from petty traders and those who are working hard to make a living to solve the council's multi-million ringgit financial problem.

"The problem with MPS is that although they have RM120 million in revenue, more than 50 per cent of it goes to Alam Flora.

"Then, there are contracts which have been given out more than five years ago to contractors whom many people are complaining about because they no longer do their jobs well."

He said MPS should first lower their expenses by solving these issues and then increase their revenue from other sources. "Don't tax the lower income group," he said.

Leong said he had written to the president of MPS, Datuk Zainal Abidin Azim, requesting him to review the decision and stop the rental increase. The councillors have also had a meeting and agreed that the rent for the stalls should not be increased and the issue should be discussed at the next full board meeting.

He said traders in other areas under the MPS would also be voicing their dissatisfaction over the rent hike.

Leong said one of the ways of lowering the expenditure of the council was by having an Integrated Waste Management System.

"Currently, garbage had to be taken to Bukit Tagar for disposal. Because of the distance, the number of trips which the contractors can make are limited. So, there are illegal dumping grounds on the way to the dumpsite.

"Having an integrated system in Selayang will bring down the cost of garbage collection and disposal," he said.

Also present at the press conference was Selayang councillor A. Murugeshu.

Monday, May 24, 2010

News: May 24, 2010 Filthy streets in Selayang B

THREE departments in the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) — Engineering, Health and Enforcement — have been given two weeks to solve issues in Selayang Baru.

Selayang MP William Leong said he wanted a report on actions taken by the departments during his walkabout at the market area in Taman Selayang Baru last Saturday.

Leong talked to some traders and residents at the stalls to hear the problems they were facing in the area.

Jammed up: Rubbish inside the drains at Jalan 62, Taman Selayang Baru, clogs the drains whenever there is a heavy downpour.

“The people here complained about dirty backlanes and drains that are clogged, especially in the market area.

“Some irresponsible residents have thrown rubbish into the drains. This has resulted in flash floods at Jalan 23, Jalan 62 and Jalan 29 during heavy rains. Drains on Jalan 9 also need to be repaired.

“Traders here have also complained about the irregular collection of rubbish. Sometimes, piles of plastic bags have been seen left on the ground because the bins are filled to the brim.

“They said that the contractors were suppose to collect rubbish three times a week but only did it once or twice a week.

“Because of the delay or their absence on collection day, the rubbish — mainly wood waste — attracts rats, flies and cockroaches,’’ said Leong.

Leong was accompanied by MPS councillor Datuk Mazlan Hassan, who is in charge of the area.

Awful sight: Motorists passing along Jalan Besar in Selayang Baru can’t help noticing this sight of rubbish thrown outside the bins.

This was Leong’s second walkabout after his first assignment last week in Taman Selayang Jaya.

He added that he would be holding a meeting with the contractors next week to resolve the matter as the situation was getting from bad to worse.

Leong pointed out MPS is looking into increasing the assessment rates in Selayang to get a bigger budget to solve the issues in Selayang.

However, he is against the move to increase assessments.

Leong has spoken to the councillors and told them that MPS should increase its revenue and this should not be done by way of increasing the assessment.

“I feel that the contractors need to be warned or terminated if they do not function properly.

“In fact, half of the council’s budget, which is RM70mil, goes towards contractors collecting rubbish. And that is rubbish,’’ he said.