Local Malaysians and tourists alike flock to Medan Niaga Satok, the new home of the famous Satok Market, to feast their senses on all things Sarawak. Comprised of a Sunday market, wet and dry markets, a wholesale market, hawkers, food courts, and FAMA offices, Medan Niaga Satok is nothing short of a self-contained food city. The sizable layout provides ample room for all vendors allowing customers to find everything they want in one convenient location. For those who come hankering to do more than fill their stomach, cultural performances are offered in the evenings showcasing the ethnic intricacies of Malaysia’s largest state. Medan Niaga Satok is not merely a market, but a cultural haven for Sarawak’s ethnic identity. Covering an area of 12.25 acres, Medan Niaga Satok is the largest market place in all of Malaysia. Its operations include an assembly and distribution center, which spans all stages of the process from sorting and grading to labeling and pricing. Also on location is a supply and demand information center to keep pricing and production in line with market needs. Centers for entrepreneurial development and Agro-tourism round out the functions of this all-in-one market place. It is no small feat to manage such a full range of operations under one roof, but the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (FAMA) sees this as integral to their mission. FAMA seeks to grow the nation’s agriculture sector by finding solutions beneficial to farmers and producers as well as the consumers. By putting these parties in direct contact, the farmers and producers maintain a healthy bottom-line while the consumer enjoys lower prices.
The history of the Satok market is not unlike many others throughout Malaysia. Having begun at Market Street in Kuching, it hopped, skipped, and jumped its way through the area until it finally came to rest in Satok. Along it’s journey and through the years, it has accumulated an abundance of vendors and hawkers, each adding their own flavours and character to the market. Today the market finally has a place to call home, a modern sprawling facility of a home. This is a far cry from the car park that was home to the market for over twenty years. Without the proper amenities, hygiene was compromised and vendors traveling great distances oftentimes resorted to sleeping on the street. For the most part Malaysia’s markets and hawkers have been characterised by cleanliness as compared with most SE Asian neighbours. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement to ensure cleanliness and safely for customers and vendors as well as the environment. Through FAMA’s oversight, waste management will be efficiently handled and recycling is set to become the norm. With ample toilets, running water, electricity, and space to separate the various markets from each other, hygiene will only increase while the threat of cross-contamination diminishes. One market can touch the lives of so many, shaping childhoods, providing for basic human needs, and adding cultural character to the ever-expanding urban sprawl. As a model for the rest of Malaysia, Medan Niaga Satok’s influence will not stop with residents of Satok or Kuching, or even Sarawak. This influence is set to spread all over Malaysia.