With the newly enforced MCO 2.0, there seems to be no end to the struggle of business owners who have been suffering from the consequences of the pandemic since last year.
In fact, more than 600 business owners under PRESMA (Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association) have gone bankrupt since the implementation of the first MCO in March 2020, as reported by Astro Awani.
The re-implementation of the MCO in selected states across the country meant stricter restrictions for businesses, including limiting the hours of eateries from 6am to 8pm.
However, PRESMA President, Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said that business hours of eateries should be extended to 10pm instead. “Many food delivery riders come after Maghrib (prayer time), they line up like they’re in a market to take food orders. But we close at 7.50pm. It is such a critical time and as business owners, we cannot gain from this.”
Jawahar continued to share the plight of business owners who want to serve their customers but fear being compounded by authorities. “If we prepare food for customers at 8pm, we will definitely be given compound fines. Sometimes, the state authorities will take action without tolerating our situation. We obey the law and the SOPs but the operation hours of eateries need to be further refined by the government.”
If operation hours are extended, it is expected that there will be more time for people to buy food and drinks at restaurants and allow business owners to operate more efficiently and increase their revenue during peak business hours.
Meanwhile, Jawahar added that the struggles of business owners also include taking loans from the bank. Hence extending the moratorium period will alleviate the pressure on these stressed business owners.
“If possible, the government should refine the moratorium period and banks will consider continuing helping business owners for three to six months. Due to declining sales revenue, loans are overdue and some banks told us that they will increase the interest rate from 3.6 per cent to 6 per cent until the loan is settled.”
“This is really stressful for business owners, especially now during MCO,” added the president.
Hopefully, the government will look into these issues and save these struggling business owners from bankruptcy.
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