Wednesday, May 27

Association hopes petty traders given assistance after MCO period

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Abdul Taib Rosli

Johnny Wong Sie Lee

SIBU: Taman Selera Harmoni Sibu Muslim Traders Association is hoping that the federal and state governments can provide assistance to petty traders after the movement control order (MCO) is lifted.

Its chairman Abdul Taib Rosli said this will certainly come handy for some 50 hawkers in the food court for them to resume their business after the MCO period.

He pointed out that the extension of the MCO had indirectly affected these traders’ income as they could not operate as usual.

“Although the state government is giving a discount of 50 per cent for rental of market and stalls covering a period of six months up to September 2020 (among the 16 measures under the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance Package), it is also hoped that the government can provide assistance or special loan to traders to resume their respective businesses when the MCO is lifted later,” Abdul Taib suggested yesterday, when asked if the extension of the MCO to April 14 would affect the traders at this popular food court.

The MCO extension announcement was made by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin on Wednesday.

Commenting further, Abdul Taib noted traders would also benefit from the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance Package, being in the B40 group.

“Petty traders under B40 group are eligible for a monthly cash payout of RM250 for six months to lessen their burden,” he said.

“Furthermore, the waiver of permits and license fees for traders, hawkers, night market traders, tamu and Ramadan bazaar operators is highly appreciated by traders in Taman Selera Harmoni here as this will go a long way in lightening the burden borne by traders for not being able to operate as usual during the MCO period,” he added.

On another matter, Abdul Taib said as Malaysians, it is important for everyone to comply with the federal government’s directives to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“To me, the government also needs to be more stringent in implementing the MCO so that the virus can be contained faster.

“Traders at Taman Selera Harmoni comply with the MCO and their stalls will remain closed until the end of the MCO period,” he added.

Out of the 50 stalls in Taman Selera Harmoni, 45 are selling food and drinks while the others are selling various merchandises.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong Sie Lee bemoaned that the MCO extension is putting additional pressure on them.

“Even before the MCO, budget hotels in Sibu were suffering badly, including the star-rated ones.

“Extending the MCO by another 14 days will cause additional losses and pressure to the hoteliers.”

Wong recounted that since March 18 till now, most budget hotels here have seen a drop in the number of guests and some were even empty.

“This affects not only the hotel industry, (but) the coffee shops (also) as they suffered badly for not operating.

Restaurants also suffer due to poor business because people cannot dine-in but are only allowed to order takeaways,” he lamented.