‘Jerudong market issue difficult’

National 2 minutes, 28 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

The acting Brunei-Muara district officer yesterday admitted that it is difficult to resolve the inconvenient circumstances faced by fruit and vegetable vendors at the Jerudong beach market.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Mislee Hj Abdul Karim said only the Jerudong market is under their jurisdiction, adding that the area near Jerudong beach is under the Public Works Department (JKR).

This was a response to the grievances expressed by fruit and vegetable vendors from the Jerudong market who were asked to move back to their stalls.

The Brunei-Muara District Office stated that vendors were not allowed to set up stalls outside of the market’s building, including on the side of the road near the beach, from March 10 onwards. But the vendors have been seeing a dramatic decrease in their earnings since they were ordered to move back.

The vendors had moved out of their rented stalls and set up stalls outside the market building due to stiff competition from beach vendors.

Mislee said they’ve conducted surveys and multiple dialogues with the vendors so they are “well informed of the problems they’re facing.”

He said the market vendors should know that they are prohibited from operating their businesses outside their stalls as the regulation was outlined in their contracts.

“All this while, we’ve tolerated them for operating outside their stalls because we understand the threat the beach vendors pose to the market vendors,” he said.

However, he said the district office’s current priority is to maintain the market’s cleanliness, which he said was severely affected when the vendors moved out of their stalls. They are also now requiring beach vendors to move into empty stalls in the market.

“We have no jurisdiction when it comes to the beach vendors, (but) we’ve discussed the matter with the Attorney General’s Chambers, and they told us that we can take action against these vendors using our executive power as the district office,” he said.

Mislee said they are currently conducting multiple joint operations with the relevant agencies to ensure that beach vendors are no longer operational on the beach side.

“During our operations, we give fair warning to the beach vendors, asking them to make use of the stalls that are in the market, as there are still a number of empty stalls,” he said.

He added there were some who were willing to move in even though they are unregistered vendors, but vendors who didn’t cooperate were asked to pack up their wares and leave.

“At the moment, this is just a short-term solution to the problem. As for the long term, we aim to renovate the Jerudong beach market,” said Mislee.

He said the paperwork for the market’s renovation has been completed, but the district office is waiting for a budget to be allocated to the project, adding that they will find a cost-effective way to renovate the market.

The Brunei Times