Ball now in fruit seller’s court

A FRUIT seller, who has been operating from his parked car along the busy Jalan Macalister in Penang, has been told to attend a balloting session at City Hall tomorrow morning after being offered a stall at the Batu Lancang Market to ply his trade.


Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee Chun Kit said he hoped that the fruit seller, Lee Kim Huat, would turn up for the balloting session and not continue to trade near the Universal Hua Xia International School for health and safety reasons.


“It’s dangerous to hawk along the busy road which may cause traffic problems or accidents. Moreover, there is no proper access to water or toilet facilities there.


“Councillor Connie Tan and I have done our best to help him. Although an SMS has been sent to him (to let him know of the balloting session), I will tell my staff member to inform him again over the phone,” Chris said.


Chris (left) and Connie Tan showing a photo from his laptop of them meeting the fruit seller to help him relocate to a proper place.


The plight of Kim Huat displaying his fruits on his sedan’s bonnet, roof and boot and hoping passing motorists would stop and buy them was highlighted by several newspapers.


Kim Huat claimed he has no choice but to sell his fruits by the road after losing his job as an excavator driver during the movement control order.


It was reported that his wife is sick and he has four children aged between six and 18 to care for.


He also claimed that he had been issued summonses several times for selling fruits without a licence.


Chris and Tan said they had met Kim Huat twice to help him, including arranging an interview for him with the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) on April 20 to rent a stall to operate his business.


“If everything is okay, he can start selling his fruits at the stall in the market from May 1. The stall rental is RM110 per month.


“There will be a simple briefing for him tomorrow about the rules and regulations and also some documentation to be done,” Tan said.


Chris said both he and Tan were later disappointed to learn from news reports that the fruit seller would want to continue trading at the old place.


“If he insists on trading there, we won’t be able to stop him. But I hope he will accept the offer and attend the balloting session. I hope the issue will also not be politicised,” Chris said.


Story by K.H. Ong

Pix by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad