Selayun vendors concerned at number of foreign sellers

National 1 minute, 42 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

LOCAL vendors at the Pasar Tani Selayun have expressed grievances over the rising number of foreigners working as illegal vendors at the marketplace.

Siti Aida Abdullah, a local vegetable vendor, told The Brunei Times that the majority of vendors operating in the market are non-locals.

“Just by observation, (I estimate that) 70 per cent of stall operators in the market are non-locals and that means that only the remaining 30 per cent are locals,” she said.

The 56-year-old added: “These non-locals are not disruptive individuals (but) I feel that they are taking business opportunities away from locals.”

Nur Ni’mah Qistina Abdullah Saban who has been selling vegetables at the market for nine years said all of the non-local vendors are working under different employment passes as most of them are domestic workers and farm care-takers.

According to her, there have been numerous operations conducted by the Labour Department and the Immigration and National Registration Department (JIPK) on a monthly basis.

Under JIPK’s regulations, foreign workers are only allowed to do work that is according to what is written in their employment passes.

“For some reason, the non-local stall operators always seem to know when there will be an operation about to be conducted (so) they hide away during the operation and return once government officials have left the market,” said the 38-year-old.

She added that the non-local vendors tend to return to their stalls and resume their operations even when they have been detained during operations conducted by the government authorities.

Meanwhile another Pasar Tani Selayun vendor, Hilmi Salleh, noted  that foreign workers themselves should not take the overall blame.

She stressed that it is the employer’s responsibility to be well informed and to adhere to the labour laws that exist in the country.

She said that if the employers of the non-local vendors are unwilling to sell their produce at the market, then the least they could do is to hire locals to sell their produce for them, as to avoid breaking labour laws.

The Brunei Times