SUNGAI BESAR, Jun 13 – From as early as 7am, the hustle and bustle at the Sungai Besar begins, with most traders already setting up their stalls for the day. A Bernama survey revealed that the uniqueness of this market lied in the multi-ethnic blend of its entrepreneurs such as those from the Chinese community and Malay traders who are mostly of Javanese descent.
The market located at Jalan Stadium is synonymous with Sungai Besar’s multi-racial society, a place where the people can purchase essential items as well as a variety of cuisines. There are two sections in the single-storey market – a dry market that sells groceries such as onions and anchovies, and the wet market for vegetables, seafood and fresh chicken.
The people here have been accustomed to visit the market which was opened about eight years ago, and do not mind buying from traders of different races. For housewife Hasnah Abdul Rahman, 45, it is customary for her to visit the market every morning to purchase cooking supplies, especially during Ramadan.
“I come here every day, including during Ramadan, because I do not like to keep fresh items in the fridge, and besides, my home is close to the market. I like to buy things here, especially at Uncle Kong’s shop, as his items are satisfactory and he is very jovial,” she told Bernama.
Kong, or Kong Ngee Kai, 69, opened his retail store in the market three years ago. In the meantime, the former teacher and local resident of Sungai Besar also said that his customers were Sungai Besar residents of various races and he liked to socialise with them.
He said it’s nice to do business here although he is now old, the visitors like to call him Uncle Kong because they say he have a good sense of humour. In addition to local residents, the market has now also attracted visitors from other states due to the upcoming by-election on June 18.
However, the traders have not taken advantage of the situation by raising the prices of goods sold in the market at will. This was evident, as prices of wet and dry items were said to be reasonable, with items like ‘ulaman kampung’ (green salad) still being sold at RM2 a plate, and catfish at RM6 per kilo.
Siti Saadiah Daud, 65, who hails from Kampung Panchang Bedena, said she did not raise the price of her ulaman during the election campaign for fear of losing her loyal customers. She said she have been in business for so long (30 years), if she raise the price, she will probably lose her regular customers. Trader Azli Lain, 42, acknowledged that the price of catfish he sold has increased slightly compared to the last few months.
He said that the price of catfish that he sell increased is due to the drought which occurred recently. The Sungai Besar parliamentary by-election this time will see a three-cornered fight between Barisan Nasional’s Budiman Mohd Zohdi, PAS candidate Dr Abdul Rani Osman, and Azhar Abdul Shukur of Amanah, representing Pakatan Harapan. It is being held following the death of the incumbent Tan Sri Noriah Kasnon, who perished in a helicopter crash in Sebuyau, Sarawak on May 5. — Bernama