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Hawkers worried over eviction


SEBERANG PRAI: HAWKERS at the popular Pokok Sena farmers market here are worried over their uncertain future.

They are wondering if they will get to stay where they are or will have to move elsewhere and risk losing their customers.

The 40 hawkers had been told recently that the land behind their market was going to be developed into a new commercial centre.

The landowner needed the hawkers to move to make way for construction work to build an access road to the project site.

The market's committee chairman Abdul Halim Salleh, 54, said the hawkers learned about the project in March after the committee met with the landowner.

The hawkers were told that they were in the way and should move out, he said.

"We were offered another place to operate our business but we were never told where.

"Although, we have not received eviction notices or updates, we are worried that our eviction is only  a matter of time. None of us want to leave," he said at the market last Friday.

The roadside market was established in 2001. It is a popular place for locals to buy  fish, vegetables and food.

Its founder Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar said it was unfair to uproot the hawkers when the site they are occupying is  a road reserve and not  private land.

He said new development should not be pushed through at the expense of the  hawkers who had come a long way to establish their stalls, which started under parasols 11 years ago until they were now under proper tents.

"They are strategically located along a road that connects Kepala Batas, Tasek Gelugor and Bukit Mertajam.

"Hundreds of residents come here daily for its food, fish, vegetables and snacks like kuih... the hawkers earn a good and honest living," he said.

Mohd Shariff, who is former Agriculture and Agro-based Industry deputy minister and Tasek Gelugor member of parliament, urged the landowner to discuss with the hawkers to seek a win-win solution.

He also advised the hawkers to stand united and make decisions collectively.

Datuk Seri Mohd Shariff Omar discussing the eviction issue with hawkers at Pokok Sena farmers market in Tasek Gelugor. Pic by Siti Azila Alias

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