By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By BERNAMA
FEDERAL Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad has pledged to halt middlemen cartels that have been collecting money from small traders and hawkers at markets in Kuala Lumpur (KL).
He said this illegal activity is unhealthy for both the business operators and authorities like the KL City Hall (DBKL).
Citing recent cases at the Danau Kota Uptown night market, Khalid said “third parties” who claim to be organisers and traders’ associations of the place could collect almost half a million ringgit a month.
“Assuming if these people collect around RM1,000 a month from 500 traders, that translates to RM500,000 a month, just because they were given that particular area (from the previous government) to control and collect rental rates from the traders.
“This is not healthy for their economy and I believe a lot of honest business operators can succeed if we eliminate these middlemen, by asking them to go directly to DBKL to obtain both licences and rentals,” Khalid said in KL yesterday.
He also warned all businesses and traders, who had obtained licences from the council, to not multi lease which is a common practice at most of the night markets in KL.
Last December, the ministry asked traders at the Danau Kota Uptown market to move to a new outlet, known as Bazaria Wangsa Maju, where they would enjoy lower rentals without having to deal with third parties.
He said the fixed rental rates are at RM225.20 per month for food businesses and RM212.70 for dry goods. With middlemen, rentals could go from RM500 to RM1,500 a month and during the month of Ramadhan, the rent could go up to RM5,000.
Khalid said three surveys were done to gather feedback from the traders where the majority agree with the government’s plan to shift their businesses to Bazaria Wangsa Maju, while only a few were against it.
Meanwhile, Khalid announced a RM10 million allocation to employ 229 DBKL staff in the wake of multi-events taking place in KL this year. These events include Visit Malaysia Year 2020, KL World Book Capital 2020 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.
Around RM4.3 million will be used for the first round of employment, while the remaining will be utilised to create job opportunities. “We need to ensure that everything is in order during these major events, including taking care of the city’s parks,” he said.
Khalid also announced that RM50 million is allocated for 250 class Grade 1 contractors, for jobs related to civil, electrical, mechanical and services in KL this year.