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GOMBAK: Selayang Municipal Council's (MPS) sale of temporary stall permits for the Thaipusam bazaar at the Batu Caves Temples went smoothly yesterday
Traders begin arriving at 9am and were attended to by council staff half an hour later.
Traders did not have to wait long as the number of applicants was lower than in previous years.
It only took each applicant about 20 minutes to get their permits.
"Last year's queue was longer. Today, it was a breeze to get the permit," said P. Nirmala, 39, who has been selling snacks at the bazaar for 20 years.
She said the low turnout might be due to the rise in living costs and the fact that business was not as good as it used to be.
"Usually, people assume that when there is a huge festival, traders will make a lot of profit but, with the increase in living costs, customers will be more thrifty," she said.
Sellamah, 60, said traders would have a tough time appealing to customers because many of them were selling similar products.
"As the prices of some ingredients such as sugar is not cheap, those who sell sweets, cakes, laddoos and snacks will have to raise their prices," she added.
First-time Thaipusam trader Ramesh Kumar Mogan, 25, who will be running a barber stall said he would be charging RM10 per head.
MPS public relations officer Azhar Salleh said the council had allotted 722 trading lots this year -- 105 for barbers and the remainder for traders.
"The traders who applied for their permits today received their lots based on the balloting system while those who apply later at our headquarters will only get what's still available," he said.
The permit allows traders to operate their businesses from Jan 16 to 19.
He said, up to 10am yesterday, the barber service permits were selling fast, with less than 20 lots left.
He said 80 per cent of the permits for trading stalls had also been snapped up.
Azhar said MPS would continue with its campaign to encourage traders to avoid using plastic and styrofoam containers.
"The council hopes the traders will support the campaign as the use of plastic and styrofoam containers will only produce more rubbish for the council to dispose of."
Last year, he said, MPS had spent more than RM140,000 to clear 419 tonnes of rubbish outside the temple.
Azhar said the council would place 12 roll-on-roll-off bins outside the temple complex and 200 240 litre bins at the Thaipusam bazaar for the public's convenience.
"We have made it mandatory for the traders to have a waste bin at each of their stalls," he said.