Pasar Malam relocation questioned

National 3 minutes, 0 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

VENDORS at Pasar Malam have been ordered by the authorities to move into the new Tamu Gadong II upon its completion.

A copy of a letter of notice that was issued on April 28, 2016 to all vendors at Pasar Malam was shown to The Brunei Times when vendors were interviewed yesterday.

The letter said that the Pasar Malam night market will be moved to the new nearby location, referred to in the letter as Pasar Gadong Beratap, on May 1, 2016 (yesterday) and asked for the cooperation of the vendors to move their fixtures and wares there on the date.

The letter also said that “the Ministry of Home Affairs and the BSB Municipal Board places its full confidence that the new location, with all of its facilities available to vendors, will create an environment that will be more convenient for vendors to operate their businesses while attracting even more customers.”

An official from the Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) Municipal Board confirmed that the letter was issued from their office.

However, Pasar Malam vendors told The Brunei Times yesterday that there was a last minute postponement after officials from the BSB Municipal Board called vendors to inform that the move will be delayed to another day that will be determined soon, which was confirmed by an official from the BSB Municipal Board.

Hj Hasbolashah Rosmalishah, who is the de facto representative of the Pasar Malam vendors, said that after reaching a majority concensus amongst themselves, the vendors went to the office of the BSB Municipal Board on Saturday morning with a letter of petition from the vendors in hand to air their grievances and request for a postponement of the move which was initially denied.

“We asked for a postponement, not to protest or disobey the government’s decision, because the conditions of the move was unfavourable for us and also due to the fact that we felt the facilities at the new location were not yet adequate to make business viable for us,” he said.

“We were disappointed as we felt that the three-day notice was too short of a time for us to contemplate the repercussions of the move and that we were excluded from the discussions to move to the new location even though the decision impacts us vendors the most,” he said.

Hj Hasbolashah said that their request was denied on Saturday but was told by an official from the BSB Municipal Board on Sunday morning that there would be a postponement until further notice.

When interviewed yesterday, many of the vendors voiced concerns over the suitability of the new location and but maintained that they would agree to a move if the facilities provided were adequate enough for them. “It is not that the place is terrible or that we are steadfastly refusing to move but it is currently not as complete as we hoped it would be as there seems to be no toilet, prayer room, enough parking space or adequate protection from the weather built yet,” said 42-year-old Siti Aishah Abdullah.

“The biggest problem of all that we can see is that there is only one point of entry and exit, compared to the current location which has multiple points of entry and exit, which would cause problems when all the vendors need to bring in their trailers to set up the stalls in the afternoon,” she said.

A 68-year-old vendor Hjh Aminah Bakar said that she was disappointed with the way authorities handled the move and that she felt the concerns of vendors are constantly being neglected in these types of situations.

The Brunei Times