Kianggeh vendors say moving out will affect their livelihoods

Tamu Kianggeh vendor speaking to ‘The Brunei Times’ at the market yesterday.


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - VETERAN Tamu Kianggeh vendors yesterday insisted that moving out of the open-air market will affect their livelihoods despite the government giving the traders four options to conduct their business elsewhere.

Some vendors said they were determined to stay at the decades-old market regardless of the repercussions. The Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department Tuesday said registered Tamu Kianggeh vendors can open their stalls at one of the four provided locations if they were unhappy with the canopy market at Tamu Gadong.

The locations include the first floor of Pasar Gadong, Gadong night market, the former meat and poultry block soon to be refurbished for fruits and vegetables at Pasar Gadong and a new open-air Gadong market that is still under construction.

Rosnah Hj Latif, 52, said even with the choices given, she will not move unless they are relocated to a new place in the Bandar Seri Begawan area.

“I’ve lost sleep many nights thinking about this move, to be honest I’m worried, we are all worried, we have debts to pay, children to feed and the new location is just not centralised enough to ensure constant customers,” she said in an interview yesterday.

Rosnah, speaking with tears streaming down her face, said she will stay at her stall even with the knowledge that authorities would take action against her.

The ministry previously said it will be an offence for any vendors to operate their business at Tamu Kianggeh after March next year.

Rosnah, who sells handicrafts and dried food, said she has been doing business at the Tamu Kianggeh since she was seven years old.

Osnie Hj Latif, who is also Rosnah’s sister, said she had a stall in Tamu Gadong before moving to Tamu Kianggeh.

“My car got compounded when I was at Tamu Gadong, because I was not able to pay my loans, because nobody goes to that area to buy the products that we sell (dried food, fruits and vegetables), why would they? Left and right there are supermarkets and shopping complexes, we cannot compete with them,” said the 48-year-old.

The Tamu Gadong can accommodate 108 stalls, with one canopy consisting of six stalls and complete with prepaid meters for electricity and water supply for each stall.

Hjh Aisah Mat Rais, who lives in the water village of Kg Saba, said she would have to stop being a vendor knowing that they have no choice but to move out of Tamu Kianggeh. “I don’t know what to feel at the moment, my body is old and weak and I cannot handle long trips, I guess if I can’t stay at my stall, then I’ll just stay at home,” said the 76-year-old.

Hjh Kina Metussin, who has been a vendor at Tamu Kianggeh for more than 20 years, said the market is an iconic landmark in the capital and the city will lose its liveliness once it no longer exists.

“The authorities said the reason for moving us was to beautify the capital, then why can’t they beautify this tamu? If the authorities were able to modernise some of houses in the water village, why can’t they modernise this tamu?” added the 69-year-old.

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times