Friday February 25, 2011
Butchers and councillors want to dislodge paraplegic trader
By KHARLEEZ ZUBIN BUTCHERS and fishmongers at the Taman Megah Market, in cahoots with some heartless councillors, are hounding paraplegic trader Seak Nee, 39 and four others to give up their trading spots and move to the back.
Seak Nee, whose stall is just next to the specially designed ramp for the disabled, along with four other traders suffering from poor health who also occupy the front row, are facing undue pressure to give up their trading spots.
The big time traders with the insidious support of some councillors are said to be exerting pressure on these unfortunate traders so they can have the premium lots.
The traders managed to get the licensing department to change four of the traders’ lot numbers when their licences came up for renewal.
But Seak Lee, paralysed from waist downwards since birth, is fighting back despite being attacked on all fronts, even from people close to her, with telephone calls and nasty remarks.
“I make something like RM700 to RM800 monthly selling frozen foodstuffs and from that I have to pay RM330 for my room rent and this trading sport is all I have,” said Seak, who wheels herself some 15 minutes daily back and forth to the market.
Although her parents are staying in Old Klang Road, she wants to be independent and spent the last six years selling frozen food stuffs in front of the market in a makeshit kiosk until the local residents association chairman Francis Lee and other well-wishers moved the council to get her a proper tradering lot.
After nearly a year she is facing pressure from other traders.
“Many times the traders there have approached me to move to the back portion of the market and offered to foot the renovation and other enhancement to the kiosk,” Seak Nee told StarMetro recently.
One of the prime movers of the protest is Francis Siva, the president of Independent Living and Training Centre (ICTC), a non-governmental organisation, which trains the disabled to be self-sufficient.
“We want the council to step in and tell off the traders who are trying to dislodge them.”
Blaming councillor Tiew Way Keng, the DAP representative for Seak Nee’s plight for pandering to the demands of the well-to-do traders and forsaking Seak Nee’s needs, Francis said the councillor should be in the forefront of her plight.
“She knows about Seak Nee’s plight and she did nothing to protect her interest,” he said, adding that MBPJ was kind enough to specially construct the kiosks, ramp and other handicap-friendly amenities.
Chairman of the MBPJ Technical Committee on Disabilities T. Anthony, who is also an MBPJ councillor said it is a blatant act of discrimination.
He said he has forwarded Seak Nee’s letter to deputy mayor Puasa Md Taib and have asked MBPJ to conduct a full investigation into her claim of harassment by the relevant councillor and traders.
Former councillor and one time Kampung Tunku State assemblyman Khoo Ooi Seng who stopped by to see the commotion was visibly upset after listening to Seak Nee’s plight.
“I agree there are some shortcomings in the BN but we never stole from the handicap,” said the MCA member.
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