Suing DBKU and MBKS for the Relocation of the Gambier Street Market

I have just spoken to the hawkers at the Gambier Street Market (GSM), telling them that the last resort is to take up an administrative action against the government of Sarawak, challenging the government's decision to relocate the GSM.

Under administrative action, one has to show that the decision of the government is so unreasonable that no reasonable government will come to such decision, that the government has taken into consideration irrelevant factors or wrong factors when making the decision or that the government has failed to take into consideration relevant factors when making the decision.

If more than 40 hawkers agree to take up the action, I shall be file the action to sue the government, applying for the review by the Court on the decision of the government to relocate the GSM to Stutong market.

To the hawkers, it is their livelihood at stake. Their customers in the GSM is very different from the potential consumers staying around Stutong. Their customers are more from the lower-income group and the Bumiputras living across the river.

To the Ministers, they only want to have a lovely view of the waterfront so that they can show off to the foreign dignitories.

By relocating the GSM, there will be many adversed effects to the people, namely:
1. the hawkers' livelihood affected, some even refused to take up the offer to go to Stutong market on the ground that they will surely have no business there;
2. the business of the traders at the shophouses around Gambier Street, Market Street, Power Street, India Street, Khoo Hun Yaeng Street will also be affected (less people will visit the area, given that there is no more market);
3. shopkeepers cannot do marketing at their convenience;
4. the whole-salers for vegetables and fishes will also be relocated to places not suitable to the nature of their trade;
5. the sampan operators will be put out of business;
6. residents living across the river can no longer do their marketing at the GSM;
7. Kuchingites will lose a historic heritage (the oldest market in Kuching) forever. The heritage building will be replaced by the extension of the waterfront which has now become the haven for crimes, snatch-thieves, glue-sniffers and drunkards.

Given the public interest and the wide-ranging effect of this matter, if the hawkers are willing to sue, I will be taking up this matter free of charge as their lawyer, putting the administrative decision of the Sarawak State government to test by the Court.

When the government goes bonkers, the Court is the last defence of the individuals' rights. That is why we can never over-emphasise the importance of judiciary independence as judiciary forms the very foundation of our legal system.

The latest the hawkers must sign their Warrant to Act and return to me is by this coming Friday (23-5-2008).