Friday, March 5, 2021

Single mum at the end of her rope after city council tears down stall

Traders say they have no intention of standing in the way of development, but that times are hard as the pandemic and movement restrictions cause a drop in customers.

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A single mother who had been making a living selling fresh chicken has been left with no means of earning an income after the city council demolished her stall in Puchong Permai on Monday.

Even before the loss of her stall, Norseha Che Ros had been severely affected by the movement control order (MCO) which kept many customers at home due to the spread of Covid-19.

Before the pandemic hit Malaysian shores, the 53-year-old was able to sell about 100 chickens each day.

Once the MCO was implemented, though, she was fortunate to sell 20 a day.

“Sometimes I’m only able to sell five chickens. When that happens, I have to call the factory and beg them to take back the chickens that I was unable to sell because I cannot afford to take them home,” she told MalaysiaNow.

Fortunately for her, she has a good relationship with the factory boss, who allows her to return the chickens she is unable to sell.

On Monday, the Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ) tore down 43 roadside stalls in Puchong Permai, saying they had been illegally set up.

The council said notice had been given to the stall operators several times already.

Norseha said she had been earning RM15 to RM20 a day throughout the pandemic, money which she used to feed, shelter and pay for the education costs of her children. Now that she has lost her stall, though, she is forced to depend on the goodwill of the public.

Her daily routine used to begin at 4am, when she and her 16-year-old son would go to collect the day’s supply of chicken from the nearby factory.

“My son and I would walk about 1km from our home to get 20 chickens from the factory.

“Because the market price is never certain, my capital is about RM300 a day and my profit margin is only RM15 to RM20,” she said.

When contacted, Seri Serdang assemblyman Siti Mariah Mahmud said replacement stalls had already been provided by MBSJ at Dataran Prima, some 500m from the original location.

“I have gone down to the ground several times myself to meet with the traders and discuss the best way to resolve the issue because that road is going to be widened and upgraded.

“We have also received many complaints from nearby residents about the unhygienic surroundings,” she said.

Trader Ramli Hashim sits amid the rubble of what used to be his stall as he packs away plates and several other items.

“They asked for the provision of replacement stalls, and I asked the mayor to do this but after the stalls were completed they still did not want to move and asked for more time.

“The move has been postponed several times already, and they were informed ahead of time of the demolition carried out by MBSJ on Monday,” Siti Mariah who is also the Selangor exco for health, welfare and women and family development told MalaysiaNow.

She said if the traders remain unsatisfied with their new location, her side is ready to discuss the matter.

Another trader, Ramli Hashim, said they did not mean to stand in the way of the development planned by MBSJ, only that the timing was not good.

“We agreed to the demolition but please have some compassion during this time of pandemic.

“Give us a place where we can set up our stalls and tables, and cook. We can’t do any of this right now,” Ramli, who inherited his stall from his father in 1998, said.

“We accept the development but please don’t jeopardise the income of the people,” he added.

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