Municipal Dep’t vows to resolve Gadong wet market woes

National 3 minutes, 26 seconds


THE Municipal Department has vowed to resolve hygiene issues at Gadong wet market following complaints from vendors.

Acting Chairman of Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Board Hj Ali Matyassin said his department is devising short- and long-term solutions to the market’s woes, which include rat infestation, slippery floors and poor lighting.

In an interview yesterday, he said the department will set up rat traps as a short-term fix to reduce the number of rodents.

For the long term, the department will get pest control experts to devise a permanent solution to end the rat problem.

He added that rat poison was considered, but the department decided against it as it would pose a health risk if the rats were to die in obscure locations in the market.

It was previously reported in August that vendors had complained of the market being infested with rats.

When The Brunei Times visited the market last week, vendors had also raised concerns about the wet and slippery floor.

Ong Boon Ting, a fishmonger who has been in business at the Gadong wet market since 1986, said the wet floor along with the slippery tiles make it dangerous for visitors who do not have proper footwear.

When asked, the Municipal Department said it will improve the drainage system.

“The Gadong wet market is old and uses a more traditional drainage design which doesn’t effectively drain all the water. This makes it hard to completely remove all the water but we can improve it so that it will not be as dangerous,” said Hj Ali.

Deputy Chair of Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Board Dr Hjh Mas Suriaia Wati Hj Abd Hamid said they are considering options such as changing the concept of the stalls to reduce water spillage or having a dedicated section for the washing of their products.

Meanwhile, vegetable vendor Hj Saneh said the overhead lights on the first floor were not working and required maintenance work.

The vendor, who has been operating his business at the wet market for 25 years, added that the poor lighting makes it difficult to sell his products as customers could not determine the quality of his products, especially during rainy days when they lose the natural lighting through the window.

Hj Ali said their immediate priority was the lighting at the prayer hall area as it is used throughout the day.

For the first floor of the market, the acting chairman said they will tender out the repairs to contractors as the high ceiling design on the first floor will require scaffolding.

As a temporary solution, Dr Hjh Mas Suriaia said they will investigate, survey the area and provide temporary lighting until repair works are completed.

To improve the market, both the acting chairman and deputy chair said they want more transparency between vendors and the department.

To achieve this, they said the assigned supervisor of the market who acts as the focal point between both parties will be instructed to be more receptive and approachable to the vendors and their concerns as well as frequently report their concerns to the department.

Hj Ali added that the department will conduct more dialogues with the vendors so that they can voice out their concerns.

The acting chairman went on to say that his department will monitor closely the contractors who maintain the cleanliness of the market to ensure they clean the market consistently and properly.

He said the market currently holds a B grade for cleanliness based on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ indicators, and will continue to work towards improving it.

The department also advised vendors and customers to work together with the department to ensure the area stays clean by not littering, properly disposing of waste in designated trash cans, as well as maintaining the hygiene of their work stations and utensils.

“The Gadong wet market is a public space. We will ensure that it is properly maintained and clean. We hope that the vendors and members of the public will also cooperate to promote (a culture) of cleanliness (and care) for the market,” said Dr Hjh Mas Suriaia.

The Brunei Times