KLANG: Firmer action needs to taken by local councils to curb the presence of foreign hawkers, said Yap Kim Huat, chairman of the Klang Night Market Small Traders Association.
He said among the steps to be taken are the verification card and reshuffling of persons holding office in local councils.
Yap was commenting on a recent statement by the state government on drawing up a new enactment to control the influx of foreign hawkers.
“The implementation of this enactment is a long time coming, given the commercialisation of hawker stalls, where non-businessmen can buy stalls for RM7,000 to RM10,000 and rent to locals and foreigners,“ he said.
According to Yap, the monthly rental per stall can go up to RM2,000 and RM3,000.
“For instance, people from Kuala Lumpur coming to Klang seeking a morning market spot will ask if there is any space for rent,“ he said on the phenomenon that exist in almost every market.
The Selangor Local Government, Public Transport and New Village Development Committee chairman Ng Sze Han had said that business licences issued by respective local councils must only be given to Malaysians and permit holders must be present at the business premises at all times.
Yap suggested that to make verification easier, local councils should make it a requirement for stall owners and employees to have their verification cards with pictures when trading at all times.
“Secondly, do not let the office holders be in the same position for too long, instead, they should be reshuffled every one to two years to avoid corruption,“ said Yap.
He also pointed out that it is easy to change the name of the stall with some “help” from people within local councils.
“The state enforcers should make their inspection rounds on a daily basis,“ he said.
Currently, local authorities can only issue compounds and cancel licences of small traders found guilty of allowing foreigners to use their licences.
“The state government is looking to design an enactment in order for us as local councils to take action against foreigners involved in business and to the owners who give their business (to foreigners) or take the foreigners as operators for the business for which we issue the licence,“ said Mohd Azhar Mohd Sharif, acting director of Licensing Department at Shah Alam City Council (MBSA).
According to him, the inspection will be conducted by local enforcement at least once a week. They will have a joint task force with the police and Immigration Department when dealing with foreigners.
A workshop to discuss the enactment will be organised for all local councils in Selangor, especially among the licensing department and legal department.