LARUT: Against the backdrop of the calm and serene village atmosphere in Selama, there is a morning market known as Pekan Jumaat Sungai Bayor, which has been the focus of more than 300 traders from three states seeking to generate income, for the past 20 years.

Interestingly, the morning market, which operates every Friday, from 7 am to noon, offers a variety of goods stretching over two kilometres long along Jalan Kampung Sungai Bedarah.

In addition, the morning market is a meeting point for traders and visitors from three states - Perak, Kedah and Penang - and has always been the focus of the local population and those from the surrounding areas.

The Selama District Hawkers Association chairman Mohamad Ezaiyuhan Awang, 38, said that the market usually attracts around 2,000 visitors, but the number will double during school holidays.

“I once asked (visitors), not only those from Perak, Kedah and Penang but some even travelled all the way from Johor and Selangor to experience it,” he said when met by Bernama here.

Mohamad Ezaiyuhan, from Taiping, said that in the early 60s to 70s, the original location of Pekan Jumaat was along the banks of Sungai Bedarah, but it was later moved to Pekan Sungai Bayor due to an increase in the number of traders.

“The location was then moved again, to where it is now (along Jalan Kampung Sungai Bedarah) in early 2004 by the Selama District Council (MDS), for safety reasons, since the location in Sungai Bayor town is the main route for residents.

“I am one of the lucky ones, among the few traders here, who have experienced the atmosphere doing business in Pekan Sungai Bayor and here. Generally, nothing is different except many of the current traders are new,” he said.

The father of two said that among the items offered at the morning market were a variety of food and beverages, agricultural products, fish, fruits, second-hand goods, children's toys and so on.

“More than half of the total number of traders here are those selling foodstuffs. All kinds of things can be found here, including items that are difficult to obtain, such as tualang honey, freshwater fish, fruits and vegetables,” he said.

In addition, he said that the district hawkers association had also organised several competitions as side activities to continue the vibrancy of the morning market.

He added that the competitions featured various themes, including classic fashion, food, the most beautiful stalls and so on, in collaboration with MDS, Gang Dangor Sungai Bayor, Wk. Picture and the Selama population.

“We are doing all this to ensure the survival of the morning market; by having side programmes like these competitions, it will attract more visitors thus generating more income opportunities for traders,” he said.

Meanwhile, trader Mohd Nazril Salleh, 32, said that for the past six years, he has been travelling from his home in Kulim, Kedah, to the morning market, a distance of more than 50km round trip, to earn a living by selling kacang rebus (boiled chickpeas and groundnut).

Although he admitted that it was quite a distance to travel to and fro, the efforts paid off as the sales obtained at the morning market could reach RM300 to RM450 a day.

“Even though the trading time is short, at around five hours, and only one trading day in a week, the income earned is very satisfying to me (RM300-RM450 a day).

“It's more fun doing business when the school holidays arrive, sometimes my stall was closed by 9 am because the kacang rebus were sold out by then,” he said, adding that MDS only charges RM4 for each site provided to traders.

A visitor, Normala Sidek, 45, from Ipoh, said that the authorities need to increase the number of signs to make it easier for visitors to find the exact location of the morning market.

“I would like to suggest that the local authorities put up a signboard, in addition to displaying some information about the morning market, for the convenience of outsiders. I am confident that the uniqueness of this market can become another attraction for tourists to come here,” she said.

Normala said that this was the third time she and her family had visited the morning market, and one of the main reasons is the serene and calm atmosphere and the opportunity to get fresh vegetables or village delicacies at a reasonable price. -Bernama

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