GEORGE TOWN, Aug 9 – The Penang Development Corporation (PDC) dismissed today Utusan Malaysia’s report that traders were not allowed set up Ramadan bazaar stalls in Komtar, calling the Umno-owned daily irresponsible for suggesting Malays were being oppressed. In a press statement issued today, PDC officer Mohd Bazid Abdul Kahar said the Malay daily was irresponsible in playing up racial sentiments by saying that there was discrimination against the traders.
Bazid said Utusan Malaysia’s report was to cover up the Komtar Merchant Association’s (KMA) failure to manage the bazaar according to stipulated rules and and also its failure to pay rent to PDC. He explained that a discussion with KMA representatives was held on August 5 to discuss the association’s application to set up a bazaar for 27 traders at the concourse area of Komtar’s third floor.
“In that meeting, the need to limit the number of traders was already established because too many stalls cause congestion at the concourse area where the state government’s administrative office is located,” he said. “At present, there are 20 stalls at the area … to avoid congestion and inconvenience for visitors to the administrative office, PDC decided to allow only 10 additional stalls to operate at the area with a daily rental of RM50.00 for each stall,” he said.
Bazid added that the existing stalls were also paying RM50 per day. He pointed out that KMA had set up stalls at the area even before getting an approval letter from PDC on August 6. “Moreover, KMA set up 27 stalls at the area although approval was only given for 10 stalls,” he said, adding that it was unfair to shift the blame to PDC now when it was clear that KMA was at fault.
He also pointed out that PDC was not stopping the traders from setting up stalls in the area, but it was merely ensuring that KMA paid rental to PDC and manage the bazaar according to the terms and conditions agreed earlier. Bazid said to solve the issue, PDC general manager Datuk Rosli Jafar agreed to increase the number of stalls at the third floor concourse area to 17. The traders were required to pay RM50 in rental per day.
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