Kuala Tereng­ganu trishaw rid­ers on last leg be­hind han­dle­bars

New Straits Times - - Front Page - ROSLI ZAKARIA KUALA TERENG­GANU

THE sun is set­ting for some 50 trishaw pedallers in Kuala Tereng­ganu. Th­ese rid­ers, who all look much older than their av­er­age age of 65 years old, are the epit­ome of la­bo­ri­ous work.

The young ones are not keen to take up the ar­du­ous task of trishaw-ped­alling, which on good days rakes in a mere RM40 and on bad days, noth­ing at all.

Even a kind tourist pays only about RM20 for a short city tour. And, for th­ese trishaw rid­ers, every ring­git goes to­wards their buy­ing a late break­fast, with no guar­an­tee that they can make enough for lunch.

“I am just wait­ing for the day when I can no longer do this. This trishaw has pro­vided me with a rea­son­able in­come in the first 10 years of its 50 years’ ser­vice. It may soon rust in one cor­ner of my house in Pasir Pan­jang,” said 71year-old Ngah Is­mail.

Ngah said it was nor­mal to wait for cus­tomers for three hours. Cus­tomers usu­ally opt for a short ride from Pasar Payang to the bus ter­mi­nal, which is about five min­utes away. He gets paid RM5 for the ser­vice.

“I can hardly buy lunch with RM5,” he said, while thank­ing the gov­ern­ment for pro­vid­ing a RM200 monthly aid to ease the fi­nan­cial needs of the reg­is­tered mem­bers of the Kuala Tereng­ganu Trishaw Pedallers As­so­ci­a­tion.

Idris Ab­dul­lah, 60, from Kam­pung Losong said e-hail­ing ser­vices were not a threat to the sur­vival of trishaw rid­ers.

“There is noth­ing much I can do. The fu­ture for this trade is bleak. There used to be many of us, but our num­bers are now fewer than 50, and nearly all of us are above 60 years old.

“But I will cy­cle for as long as I can,” said Idris, whose five chil­dren had showed no in­ter­est in the job.

“My chil­dren tried to dis­cour­age me from rid­ing my trishaw as they were afraid I could have an accident, but I told them that bore­dom at home would take my life faster,” he said, adding that he en­joyed spend­ing time with his friends while wait­ing for cus­tomers at Pasar Payang here.


Ngah Is­mail, 71, is just wait­ing for the day when he can no longer pedal his trishaw.

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