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Friday, December 17, 2010

Rat-infested KK market may collapse

By FMT Staff

KOTA KINABALU: Filthy rat-infested Kota Kinabalu central market here is threatening to collapse on traders and consumers because the local council is refusing to hear their pleas.

According to frustrated traders, concrete chunks were falling off from the ceiling and there was nothing they could do about it.

"This market needs urgent attention. The place needs a repair job.

"It is not a big job, but it will be dangerous if ignored. Pieces of concrete are falling off the ceiling and could end up dropping on people's head. It is happening all over the market," said a trader who pointed to patches of fungus and dirty stains on the walls of the old walls.

Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew King Cheu, who visited the market recently, said the building needed to be upgraded and repainted.

"This market was built in the mid-70s and nothing has been done to maintain it. The drains are not properly covered and big rats are easily getting in and out.

"There is lack of lighting and fans in the market and the overhead pipes are leaking," he said, adding that the place was dirty and unsafe.

Hiew said the local hawkers and traders want Kota Kinabalu City Hall to be upgraded and stalls redesigned for easier flow of people and customers.

Poor business turnovers

Aside from the infrastructural shortcomings, Hiew said the Hawkers Association chairman, Johnny Fung had also raised the issue of poor tourists turnout and illegals who openly sold their ware in the market and undercutting paid tenants.

"Hawkers are facing a tough time with illegals. The first floor stalls where they sell clothes, shoes, handbags and other items are faced with really bad business turnovers. Sometimes they can’t even sell a pair of trousers in a day.

"But they still have to pay rental of RM90 per month to DBKK (Dewan Bandar Kota Kinabalu), and some have to use and pay for two cubicles to store their goods.

"Their businesses are at a loss and it is getting harder to survive. They said they don’t know what will come next, " said Hiew, who was accompanied by Sabah DAP vice-chairman Edward Ewol Mujie and party members Allen Chieng and Henry Shim.

Hiew said he will raise the issue with City Hall and seek a solution.

"It is the job of DBKK to create a better business environment in the KK central market for the public to buy their daily food supply and needs .

"This is especially so for the middle and low-income groups. I will discuss with City Hall and seek solutions to improve the various situations in the KK central market.

"What we need is to attract more people to visit our KK central market, especially the many tourists, but first we must tidy up and upgrade our market environment and the car parking areas," he said.

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