Ramadan Bazaar Traders Want Deposits Refunded

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Traders are seeking refunds for deposits they paid City Hall for spots in Ramadan bazaars, which were cancelled by Putrajaya to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

City Hall had given traders the option to seek a refund of their deposits of between RM120 and RM200 or retain it as payment for next year.

Traders told The Malaysian Insight they wanted a refund as there was no guarantee the rental fees would remain the same, even if they were allowed to trade next year.

Trader Mohamad Faizul Hasni said he wanted a refund as he thinks it won’t be any different next year.

“We still have to vote (for location of lots at the site). And, the prices vary every year,” said the 36-year-old.

“City Hall did not explain anything about this. So, many want their money back because there is nothing beneficial here, apart from carrying the fees forward, but the process is the same,” said the businessman, who has been selling Hari Raya clothes for 20 years.

Another trader, Wahid, 45, also opted for the refund.

Wahid, who sells songkok raya and capal, said he had already received his refund from City Hall.

“We have no problems with the payment process at all, because we feel it is better to ask for our money back.

“At least we can use the money to cover losses as we have no business this year,” he said.

Putrajaya banned Ramadan bazaars in line with the movement control order (MCO), which was enforced on March 18 to break the chain of transmissions of Covid-19, which has so far infected 5,742 and killed 98. The MCO was also extended until May 12.

Conflict with organisers

However, for traders under the management of bazaar organisers, issues concerning the refund have surfaced.

Last year, the Federal Territories Ministry organised bazaars at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Masjid India and Jalan Raja.

Other Ramadan bazaar organisers were given approvals to set up operations in 65 locations in the capital.

The organisers are now allegedly refusing to return the traders’ deposits, on the grounds that it will be carried forward to next year.

The matter was also raised on Tuesday by Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who called for bazaar organisers and City Hall to return all deposits back to traders who wanted them.

However, Desa Petaling Ramadan bazaar organiser Rosli Mohamad defended their action, saying traders needed to understand that the organisers have also been put in a tight spot.

He said organisers had no problems paying back the money if traders had paid the full fees.

Rosli, who charges RM391 per spot, said he would refund RM150 to traders who had paid him in full.

However, he said the traders who only paid a deposit cannot reclaim their money.

“If you follow the calculation of the RM391 fee, then the normal deposit is RM200. So, from RM200, RM100 was deducted for City Hall permit payments.

“So, it is only RM100 and this RM100 is normal; we will deduct the management fees we have already paid for, such as the cost of the apron, the paint, banners and the members’ fees,” said Rosli, who counts 2,000 traders under his purview.

He said the majority of traders are not seeking refunds and want the fees to be carried forward.

“The older traders understand that the organisers also incur costs and losses,” Rosli added. – TMI