Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin today criticised Seputeh MP Teresa Kok for her comments on the easing of restrictions for petty traders, calling them “pointless and frivolous objections”.
In a statement, Zuraida who is Ampang MP, said the government’s move to create a free zone for such traders in the federal territories was to help them carry out their economic activities as Covid-19 health restrictions continue to eat away at their income.
“It was particularly disappointing to hear her insinuate that consequent to the free zone proposal, hawker stalls could be set up in Jalan Parlimen,” she said.
“The livelihood of our small traders is not a laughing matter.”
Kok had questioned the announcement by Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa that his ministry would allow residents of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan to operate stalls and petty businesses in suitable areas for six months beginning Nov 15.
She also said Annuar was treating the city like his rural constituency of Ketereh.
“I am perplexed with the minister’s statement because it looks like he considers the federal territories the same as his Ketereh parliamentary constituency in Kelantan, where everyone can open stalls, tables and sell anything anywhere,” she said on Thursday.
Zuraida said Kok’s remarks had insulted the Kelantan government, the small traders and civil servants at both the local and state levels.
“Contrary to her claims, the proposal to allow traders to set up their stalls was subject to reasonable conditions set by their authorities,” she said.
“In times of exigency, put the rakyat first before politics. Teresa Kok and her ilk should remember that small traders do not draw a guaranteed salary from government coffers, as do MPs.”