Following the viral circulation of fake news on WhatsApp recently, the Kinta Mobile Night Market Malay Traders Association has lodged a police report at Manjoi Police Station earlier today (May 20).
According to the association’s chairman Jaafar Uthman, the fake news detailed that night markets are not allowed to operate during the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO), where in fact, the government did not impose such regulations.
“The piece of fake news started becoming viral yesterday night at around 7.41pm. It resulted in the night market at Rapat Setia yesterday receiving around 80 percent less visitors and businesses went down the drain immediately.
“There are 180 traders involved in the Rapat Setia night market. Generally in Ipoh, there are around nine markets involving around 800 traders that are registered under the association.
“Look at what the small piece of fake news has done to the livelihood of the traders. Visitors dare not come for fear of contracting the virus or becoming a possible close contact. The traders are furious and disappointed over the fake news circulation.
“During this COVID-19 emergency, countless people either lost their jobs or got their salaries cut. Thus, matters like this must be given more attention. Imagine what would happen if it went viral on a national scale.
“This was why we lodged a police report regarding this matter, in the hopes of stopping the fake news from being further circulated.
“We’re responsible for the traders as they are also people with families to fend for. Their incomes depend on business at the night markets, so we beg anyone responsible for starting this rumour to cease doing so.”
He told reporters during a media session outside the police station after lodging the police report earlier today.
Some of the nine night markets under the association’s helm, other than the one at Rapat Setia, are at Taman Perpaduan and Taman Bercham Raya in Tambun; Taman Jati in Meru; and Silibin, among others.
When asked about the possibility of a total lockdown following the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, Jaafar said, “We wouldn’t want that to happen, if that’s possible.
“However, should that be the case, we plead to the government to allow traders to continue doing businesses, instead of closing down night markets.
“They’ve been strictly adhering to SOPs and other safety measures at all times, and also ensuring that visitors abide by them as well.
“Traders’ livelihoods are at stake. It’s an unwise move to disrupt their self-sustaining activities by circulating fake news.
“At this point, we’re just concerned that the night markets at Silibin and Taman Perpaduan later today will be negatively affected as well,” he expressed.