KUCHING: Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) wants future housing and commercial centre development projects implemented within its jurisdiction to have space allocated for large markets.
Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang, who is also MPP chairman, said the government’s failure to allocate larger spaces for markets at existing major commercial areas within the council’s jurisdiction such as MJC Batu Kawah New Township, Mile 3 and Mile 7 was one of the main reasons why people had been trading illegally at parking lots.
He made the observation that housing estates were mushrooming around these areas, even up to those in Mile 10 now.
Presently, many hawkers are trading at parking lots on certain weekdays and during weekends – creating parking problems for motorists.
“I think housing all these hawkers under one roof and legalising them are the only ways to solve the problem. But we need a space, a strategic area to house them, which we don’t have because there was none allocated for this purpose when the development was approved back then.
“We can’t even extend the existing markets at Mile 3, Mile 7 and Mile 10 now because if we do that, it means we are taking the parking spaces away from motorists. Even now, people have been complaining of not enough parking lots available at these booming commercial areas,” he told The Borneo Post, commenting on the issue of illegal hawkers in MPP’s areas.
Lo said the government must try to include sites for big markets in future residential and commercial housing projects within areas under MPP’s jurisdiction.
He believed that by doing so, the issue of illegal hawkers could be tackled without using force.
He said the government could not wait until towns grew beyond the stage where there would be no viable space left for a market to meet the day-to-day needs of the people.
“By then, it would be a lot more difficult to find any space for a big market; therefore, planning has to start well before the town grows too big.
“The potential space for a market has to be identified and gazetted so that the developer will not touch it.
“The space needs to be gazetted because the land will become too valuable to be used as a market space by the time the town grows too big,” he said.
According to Lo, a market is a basic necessity to ensure that the daily needs of a growing population in the area would be met.