Business as usual for Pahang pasar malam traders

KUANTAN: It was all smiles for Pasar Malam traders across Pahang as they can operate as usual during the Movement Control Order (MCO), albeit with conditions.

The traders were given the green light to operate between 4 pm and 10 pm following a State Security Working Committee (JKKN) meeting last week chaired by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

A source, who was present at the meeting, said JKKN had requested state National Security Council (NSC) to consider allowing Pasar Malam traders to operate as their incomes were already badly affected by the recent floods which struck the state.

“Many Pasar Malam and pasar tani traders suffered a drop in income and some did not earn anything due to the floods, and rainy season. So JKKN requested some leeway for them to continue operations during the MCO so that their livelihood would not be affected.

“Permission was given since it only involved small-scale economy activities and customers will be involved in buying home or take-away. However, if any Covid-19 cases were identified, then all the Pasar Malam in Pahang would be forced to cease operations,” said the source.

He said all the Pasar Malam sites are required to have separate entry and exit points, and there must be someone stationed to guard both the entry/exit points.

“Strict measures will be implemented including arranging the canopies according to the category of products and the area cannot be overcrowded. Canopies must be placed at a one-metre distance from each other.

“Each Pasar Malam has a person-in-charge so the local authorities will coordinate with the respective individual in case there are any latest instructions or other improvements to the guidelines,” he said.

Pasar Malam trader A. Jayachanthiran, 64, said it was a huge relief that the night markets were allowed to operate as usual here.

“Last year we were forced to close business for several months due to the MCO and we were worried to face a similar situation this time. I am grateful to the state government for their concern as most of the traders only earn an income when we open for business.

“The rainy weather since last month had affected my income as I could not set up my stall. We can operate as usual until the MCO ends on Feb 4 and I hope there will be no instructions to close the Pasar Malam as the traders are trying our best to comply to all the guidelines and constantly remind each other during the business,” he said, adding there has been a slight drop of customers due to the MCO.

He and his wife M. Thivanney, 64, have been operating their stall selling Indian snacks like tapioca crisps, peanuts and broad beans or savoury lentils – in various locations here on different days of the week.

During the MCO last year, the couple had to rely on customers who would call to place their orders and collect the snacks from their house at Taman Shahzan here.