LABUAN : Almost 100 hawkers of the Labuan market at the Urban Transformation Centre building here are crying foul over the withdrawal of the almost 50 per cent discount on their monthly rental beginning this year.
They claimed that it was akin to rubbing salt into the wound as their business revenue has been shrinking.
A long-time hawker, Aminah Abas, 50, said the RM400 monthly rental posed a burden to hawkers, considering that there was an economic slowdown. The discounted rental rate was RM220.
“We have been in business for almost two decades at the old market and, now, here. Business has not improved significantly but remained stagnant,” she told Bernama at the market today.
Another hawker, who identified himself as Uncle Chin, 58, said the Labuan Corporation should reconsider its decision to remove the discount as most of the hawkers were not earning a daily income constantly.
“There are times when we return home empty-handed, with no income at all,” he lamented.
Senator Datuk Bashir Alias came out in defence of the hawkers, saying the withdrawal of the discount was not timely.
He urged Labuan Corporation to consider reviewing its decision.
“The hawkers there are locals who are in need of assistance. Their daily income is only enough to make ends meet,” he said.
Labuan Association for Women’s Affairs (HAWA) chairman Fauziah Datuk Mohd Din said the Labuan Corporation should assist the hawkers by organising more programmes near the building to attract people to the market to purchase goods instead of scrapping the discount.
Labuan Corporation announced last week that it was scrapping the almost 50 per cent three-year discount on the monthly rental of RM400 at Levels 1 and 2 of the building, considering that it had to shoulder RM300,000 annually for the maintenance of the new building.