GEORGE TOWN, June 24 — Some 1,259 hawkers located near morning markets and market complexes have experienced a drastic drop in business of about 50 per cent due to the shortened opening hours.
Penang Hawkers’ Association president Datuk Lam Tong Ying said hawkers are barely surviving during the lockdown, especially with the opening hours of 8am to 8pm daily.
“The hawkers in market complexes and located near markets usually get their business from market-goers and markets are open from 6am onwards,” he said.
However, due to the lockdown standard operating procedures (SOPs) that only allow all eateries and restaurants, including hawkers, to operate from 8am onwards, many of the hawkers had to comply and open two hours later than the markets.
“They would have missed out a lot as the markets open at 6am and a lot of customers go to the markets early,” Lam said.
He said previously, a hawker in a market complex could get about 600 customers per day if they opened from 6am onwards.
“Now, many of our members are only getting about 200 to 300 customers per day because they can only open after 8am,” he said.
He said this is a drop of 50 per cent and more for many of them so many of the association members are struggling to survive.
“I hope the government will consider our appeal to allow all of the hawkers operating at markets to open at the same time as the markets, please help us,” he said.
Local Government, Housing and Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the city council has written to the National Security Council (NSC) on June 3 to apply for hawkers at market complexes and market sites to open at the same time as the markets, at 6am.
He said yesterday, at the state security committee meeting, he had also asked for the committee to submit the city council’s appeal to the NSC to allow the hawkers to operate from 6am onwards.
“There are a total 1,259 hawkers in 35 market premises on the island that are affected by this so we hope the NSC will streamline the opening hours for the hawkers to be the same as the markets,” he said in a press conference after visiting the Taman Free School market today.
He said some of the hawkers are located within the market complexes so it does not make sense that the market traders can open at 6am while the hawkers can only open at 8am.
“Two hours can make a difference to their daily income, they are suffering and I feel saddened that this is happening,” he said.
He said the Penang Island City Council has also submitted an appeal letter to the NSC to allow the hawkers to start operations at 6am.
He said the NSC should make decisions on this on a state by state basis instead of a blanket SOPs for all states.
“Penang has a high SOP compliance rate and low number of cases, where we recorded about 150 cases yesterday as compared to over 2,000 cases in Selangor,” he said.
He said NSC should consider the appeal to help the affected hawkers.
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