Tamu Kedayan traders stage protest against eviction

MIRI: About 200 operators of Tamu Kedayan here yesterday staged a protest against Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) forordering them to vacate their trading site located behindChina Street.

SEDC had issued a notice that the Tamu Kedayan would be demolished to give way to the construction of a new building.

Organised by Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Dakwah Islamiah SeMalaysia (Pekida) Miri and the operators, the friendly protest started at 10.30am.

According to Pekida Miri spokesman, Ramli Piee, Tamu Kedayan is about 40 years oldand was set up by the council at the old bus station. Since then, it has become a popular place where Kedayans from Sibuti sell their jungle produce.

The Tamu Kedayan operators want to remain at the same location and dont want to move away but if the authority wants to upgrade the present site, its okay, Ramli told reporters yesterday.

He argued that the traderswere used to trade at thepresent site and were worried that their sales would beaffected if they were to move to a new location.

To let the authorities know of their predication, he said the operators together with Pekida would send a memorandum to Miri Bumiputera Entrepreneurs Association (PBMS), SEDC,

Miri City Council (MCC) and Ministry of Finance as soon as possible, which would also clearly state that they do notwant to relocate.

PBMS president Abdul Hadi Arbie was present during the protest which ended at about 12 noon.

Ramli disclosed that the tamu operators were in the dark over the present situation.

What we know is that only the SEDC building that was demolished last year will be developed and the Tamu Kedayan will still be there, he said.

A tamu operator, Mabok Bakar, disclosed that the Tamu is a trademark for the Kedayan community who have been operating there for many years.

If the authority wants to develop SEDC building areas that have been demolished they can do so, but we dont agree the Tamu Kedayan be relocated, he pointed out.

We are not againstdevelopment but the uncertainty of location and the monthlyrental payment are issues to be looked into as we are only small traders earning a living, he added.

Meanwhile, Pekida Miri and the tamui operators want SEDC and MCC to have a dialogue with them as soon as possible to resolve the matter.