Sunday, February 27, 2011

Disabled Trader Lodges Police Report Against Councillor

Cha Seak Nee finds it hard to manoeuvre her way around the stall at the back row. —  Picture by Syed Putra Syed Abdul Rahman
Cha Seak Nee finds it hard to manoeuvre her way around the stall at the back row. — Picture by Syed Putra Syed Abdul Rahman
PETALING JAYA, NST REPORT: A wheelchair bound trader at the Taman Megah wet market has lodged a police report against Petaling Jaya city councillor Tiew Way Keng at the Sea Park station on Thursday.

In her report, 38-year-old Cha Seak Nee alleged that Tiew, a councillor for Taman Megah zone, had harassed, intimidated and threatened her and several others into moving out of their stalls at the SS24 market.

Cha, who sells frozen food like otak-otak and fish ball, said she was forced into moving from her front-row corner-lot stall to the back, an area which she described as not disabled-friendly.

Cha, who has been operating at the market since September last year, also alleged that Tiew had told her she has the power to take away her council trading licence.

Cha also called the police to investigate the alleged intimidation, threat and abuse of power by Tiew.

Tiew, however, had denied acting harshly or uttering threatening words to force the five traders out of their stalls to make way for vegetable traders who need a bigger place to put their goods.

Tiew also revealed that Cha did not have a trading licence as claimed. She said Cha had been operating illegally and after the market was redeveloped, the council had, out of goodwill, allocated her a stall.

"I have passed to Cha the form to apply for a licence but she did not submit it. Till today, she does not have a licence," she said.

Cha, responding to Tiew's claims, said she had passed her application form to the Taman Megah Residents' Association chairman Francis Lee but the council did not get back to her.

Tiew said vegetable traders who occupied the third row of stalls had requested that they be placed at a more spacious area to accommodate their goods.

A survey carried out by the Taman Megah Market Traders Association found that 90 per cent of customers prefer a bigger space and comfort when they shop.

As for the stall traders on the first row, only two out of five had objected. Tiew said Cha had agreed to move to the back row.

The swap, said Tiew, was brought up to the council Informal Sector meeting which comes under the purview of the Sustainable Committee, which agreed to the move late last year.

Tiew said the council had also agreed to restore the original structures of both rows.

"It was only a few days back that Cha suddenly refused the swap," she said.

Cha said she does not want to move as the stall she has been occupying is disabled-friendly.

"Why can't I remain in this lot? I don't want anyone to force me to relocate. I have seen the new lot and it looks like it's hard for me to manoeuvre my way around it."

Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament Tony Pua said a dialogue to address the issue will take place next week.

Tentatively scheduled for Friday, Pua said the dialogue will seek to resolve all outstanding matters related to the market and take the overall interest of the market into consideration.
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