12 Jul 2013 11:19

KLANG, July 11 (Bernama) -- Local Indian traders at major shopping spots nationwide are to close for business on July 16 in protest against Indian shopping carnivals and trade fairs in the country participated in by foreigners.

President of the Malaysian Indian Textiles and General Stores Association (MITA), R. Moorthy Ramasamy, said these trade fairs and shopping carnivals organised during the festive season were taking away the good business enjoyed by the local traders, particularly from the 'Little India' enclaves of shops run by the Indian community.

"MITA wants an immediate stop to such carnivals and we have sent many memorandums, including to the prime minister, to resolve the matter but they have not been fruitful.

"As such, as a last resort, local textile merchants and costume jewellery shop and restaurant owners have unanimously agreed to close their business operations for one day on July 16 in protest against the matter.

"Even the vegetable sellers who are badly affected by the foreigners are supporting us," he told Bernama.



He said Indian trade fairs organised by local event management companies were originally meant to be participated in by manufacturers from countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to introduce their products to local traders.

However, he said, the objective had changed along the years as foreign traders involved in these trade fairs started doing retail sales to local customers.

"The foreigners in the trade fairs are making a huge profit at the expense of local traders and it's not fair to most of them who are tax assessees," he said.

MITA secretary Maheswary Ramasamy said it was bad for the country's economy to have foreign traders at trade fairs as this would result in the outflow of money.

She said many small-scale Indian traders found it difficult to break even due to such trade fairs and, worse still, some of them were forced to close shop.



Meanwhile, a saree shop owner, Surendran Subramaniam, 39, from Sungai Petani, Kedah, said the issue of foreign traders taking away the business of locals had become a national issue and needed to be addressed quickly by the government.

Malaysian Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Penang branch president N. Vasantharajan had said that 120 traders in 'Little India' in George Town would close for business on July 16 in protest against an Indian shopping carnival scheduled to be held next month.

Vasantharajan was reported to have said that the carnival, which also involved the participation of traders from India, had caused the 'Little India' traders losses to the tune of RM10 million.