Malaysiakini news by Leven Woon.
A lot swap conflict involving the relocation of five underprivileged vendors away from their designated lots at Taman Megah Market has triggered outcries from several NGOs, who turned up at the market today to protest the relocation.
Organised by Independent Learning and Training Centre, the event saw Damansara Utama assemblyman Cheah Wing Soon, MBPJ’s disabled councillor Anthony Thanasayan, and Taman Megah resident association chairman Francis Lee gather around 12pm and carry placards chiding discrimination against the disabled.
The five vendors, who are either wheelchairs bound or suffering from diseases, were allegedly pressured by local councillor Tiew Way Keng to vacant their current lots at the front row (lot B1-B5) of the market and shift to lots situated at middle row (lot B11-B15).
The move, as Tiew told them, if for the convenience of vegetable vendors at the middle row who complained of inadequate trading space.
However, Lee said the lots allocation has been balloted prior to the opening of the market.
“It was agreed upon that the first row which faces the main road and near to a ramp should be given to less capable vendors to sell dry goods,” he said.
The conflict reared ever since the first week of the market operation in September last year after vegetable vendors began demanding for a lot swap with the first row’s owners.
Disabled forced to apologise to Tiew
Tiew, who was informed about the matter latter, allegedly only reacted on the vegetable vendors’ demand.
The conflicts escalated when the front row’s owners were denied license renewal by MBPJ’s officers last month. They also claimed to have been harassed by both MBPJ enforcement officers and the vegetable vendors since last month.
Cho Seak Nee, a wheelchair bound vendor who sells frozen foods, claimed she was told by the vegetable vendors last week to apologise to Tiew.
“They asked me to say sorry to Tiew because without her, I will not be what I am today,” said the disabled who used to travel around Puchong and Old Klang road areas to earn a living.
Thanasayan decried the incident as an attempt to sideline the disabled.
“Are they trying to push us to the (middle row) so that nobody can see us? This is not the society we want,” he said.
He said the disabled’s lots at the front row is totally legitimate and there is no reason for a swap.
The Petpositive chairman said he will “battle till the very end” to ensure MBPJ does not shift the front row vendors.
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