Minister Annuar Musa Should Stop Trying To Cheat Poor Ramadan Bazaar Traders’ Deposit Money

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Apr 17 2020
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After insisting for weeks that the annual Ramadan bazaars will not be cancelled, Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa had no choice but to ban it. As early as March 31, the UMNO warlord arrogantly said – “Just because Singapore or other parties have announced that there will be no bazaars this year does not mean we will say the same thing.”


Instead, Mr. Annuar said there will be adjustment due to the Coronavirus outbreak – “Whether the MCO (movement control order) is continued or not, we will not carry on with the old way which could cause health problems. We have to improve our lifestyle, not just exercise self-discipline during the MCO, there are many things we can learn and continue to practise post-MCO.”


Extremely eager to push for the annual bazaars, the minister had even come out with a sobbing justification – “We have to think of the need of rural folks who do not have the time to cook after returning from work.” Suddenly the urgency of staying at home and preventing people from crowding at the bazaars had taken a backseat.

Ramadan Bazaar - Pasar Malaysia

Negeri Sembilan became the first state to cancel Ramadan bazaar when the state decided on March 26 that such gathering could expose people to Covid-19. Three days later, the state of Terengganu followed suit. By April 2, Melaka, Kedah and Selangor had decided to cancel all Ramadan bazaars for the year. It was a different story at the federal government.


By April 14, when almost all states have banned the tradition of holding Ramadan bazaars, Senior and Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Muhyiddin government was still considering several options, including the concepts of delivery service and “drive-thru”. However, Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim immediately poured cold water even at the idea of McDonald’s-like drive-thru.


Still, Sabri’s colleague – Annuar Musa – did not give up and was very keen to have the bazaars, as his boys had sold permits to traders in some 66 locations in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. It appeared the minister was convinced he could bulldoze the event. His ministry officials reportedly planned to meet with hawker associations to finalise how the stalls could be positioned to ensure social distancing.

UMNO Warlord Annuar Musa

Yesterday (April 16), Annuar Musa finally threw in the towel, announcing that there will not be any Ramadan bazaars in the Federal Territories in any form this year – regardless whether via drive-thru, pack-and-pick or e-hailing. In essence, all types of physical or virtual bazaars will be banned because Muhyiddin backdoor government can’t afford any risk at this moment.


Sure, the cancellation of the bazaars would mean the lost opportunities for traders to make a killing. For example, KL Food Truck Entrepreneurs Association president Muhammad Azlan Abas revealed that some 70 of its food trucks made almost RM1 million just in 10 days during the same Ramadan bazaar last year. He said – “Kuih sellers can easily make RM5,000 a day.”


But at the same time, the yearly bazaar also provides the opportunity for cronies of politicians like Annuar Musa to make a killing. Earlier in March, when the Federal Territories Minister was optimistic that he could tackle the congestion issue to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, he revealed that each of the 66 locations could accommodate up to 50 stalls.

Malaysia - Fasting Month of Ramadan

The calculator says that would be 3,300 permits or rentals up for grab. But the story of cash cow has just begun. Last year, before the Pakatan Harapan government was toppled by Muhyiddin Yassin and his gang members from UMNO and PAS, it was revealed that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had stubbornly wanted to be in charge of the 2019 Ramadan bazaar.


Former Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad then exposed the reason. That’s because the cost of rental per lot, which normally cost RM500, could be rented out for as high as RM30,000 (depending on locations) after going through a chain of rent-seekers. Yes, DBKL, together with UMNO parasites and middle men, would resell a piece of permit through many layers.


Therefore, the number of 3,300 permits could fetch as much as RM99 million in free cash based on RM30,000 a pop. Even at RM2,000 a piece, the 3,300 lots could fetch RM6.6 million, as experienced by some traders who have demanded the refund of their deposits or fees, now that the much anticipated Ramadan event is officially cancelled.

MalaysiaKini reported that many traders were not impressed that Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa has said on a Facebook live-stream that the rental payment for booths at Ramadan bazaars will be carried forward to next year. A bazaar trader, Siti Sarah Reyes Abdullah, said it is better for the money to be returned to the traders first.


Siti, who has been selling honey chicken wings at several Ramadan bazaars in Kuala Lumpur for the past 7 years, said – “I really need that money to pay for my house rent. My freezer where I keep my chicken to sell at the bazaar has also stopped working. So I think it is better for me to take back the money. I am worried that if I cannot open my stall again next year, I cannot get that money back anymore.


A fellow bazaar trader, Nur Izatul Hidayah Abdullah, agreed with Siti – “We do not know whether next year we will have the chance to run our business and we are scared that if we try to apply for the money back, it would be difficult.” Traders like Siti Sarah and Nur Izatul have every reason to be concerned and were indeed smart to demand for the return of their hard-earned money.

DBKL Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur - City Hall

Exactly why should the traders’ rental money be locked up for a year without any benefits whatsoever? Siti’s deposit of RM2,000 could at least earn some interest if put to work in fixed deposit. Even if she could not earn any interest, it’s always wise and safer to keep your own money than parked under DBKL’s account. Besides, nobody knows what will happen in the next 12 months.


A conservative 3% interest rate will generate RM198,000 of the RM6.6 million rentals collected from the 3,300 permits (based on RM2,000 a pop). Of course, the actual rentals would be much higher because the UMNO rent-seekers knew how to milk the permits based on different locations, thanks to the party’s corruptions and abuse of power in the last 61 years.


There was a reason why former Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan, one of the richest UMNO warlords, shamelessly told the High Court during his corruption trials last month that “RM2 million is just like pocket money” to him. Kuala Lumpur Mayor Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan should allow traders like Siti Sarah and Nur Izatul to claim back their rental money.

Annuar Musa - Porsche

For the Kuala Lumpur chief, and Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa for that matter, to deny traders of their rightful money is not only pathetic and despicable and screams corruption, but also an insult to the coming holy month of Ramadan. In the same breath, Prime Minister Muhyiddin should be ashamed that his minister is trying to cheat some poor traders’ money.


To make matters worse, according to the Financial Services Act 2013 (FSA), DBKL and Minister Annuar Musa may have committed an offence for deposit-taking without an appropriate license, which normally is granted to a financial institution. Perhaps Annuar’s minions had already split their share of the money and spent it, making it impossible to fully refund back to traders.


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Story of the types that graduated from robbing pocket money from kids in the playground.

And today it’s the turn of the street stall-holders.

Tomorrow the nation!

Aye! That’s the Malaysian politicians kind of self-improvement and personal progress.

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