The Megah Ria Market lot-swap controversy is in a state of suspended animation after the MBPJ decided to temporarily reinstate the disabled vendors to their original lots.
A final decision will presumably be made after the MBPJ completes studying the issues involved.
This decision comes in the wake of local councillor Tiew Way Keng’s decision to order the elderly and disabled vendors to swap their lots with some other vendors. NGO councillor, Anthony Thanasayan, had opposed it.
According to Thanayasan, the council’s sustainable development (Mampan) committee, which met last Wednesday, has ruled that no handicapped and elderly vendors from front row shall be relocated.
He (right) added that should there be a lot-swap, the two parties involved must first come to an agreement.
The meeting, chaired by council president Roslan Shakiman, was attended by councillors Selvarajah Rathnam, Mak Khuin Weng, Cynthia Gabriel, Derek Fernandez and others.
Thanayasan: disabled should decide on disability issues
The Megah Ria Market row broke out last month when five elderly and disabled vendors claimed they were being pressured by the authority to shift away from their designated lots.
Activists who attended the protest chided MBPJ and Tiew for discriminating against the five as the lot allocation has been decided in an open ballot prior to the opening of the market.
Tiew later clarified that the lot-swap must be done as the vegetable vendors from the middle row were complaining about inadequate trading space.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua was reported as saying the swap does no harm to the five vendors as the market observes a ‘non-competition policy’. Besides that, he noted that the middle row of lots is nearer to disabled washrooms.
Thanayasan said today that it is inappropriate for able-bodied person like Pua to decide the fate of disabled vendors.
“I find it very offensive because the international convention states that no able-bodied person should decide anything for the disabled,” he said.
He said it would be a “waste of public funds” for MBPJ to refurbish the new lots to make it accessible to disabled vendors.
“The money should be channelled to other facilities,” he added.
Tiew: is there a better option?
Meanwhile, Tiew said the matter is far from resolved.
“My understanding is the council is undertaking another study to determine the best solution for the market.”
She asserted that a lot-swap is the best option for the market.
“When I asked them (the vendors) whether they could suggest any better solution in (last Wednesday) meeting, nobody answered,” she said.
She claimed even Damansara Utama assemblyman, Cheah Wing Yin, reckons that the market faces a shortage of space.
“The council must do the job,” she said.