New ways to make a living during the MCO

Nik Ailify Aizat, who runs a seafood stall in a wet market in Petaling Jaya, has been providing online delivery service during the MCO.

The third phase of the movement control order (MCO) has brought up concerns surrounding people’s livelihoods. Some are losing their jobs, companies are losing money and many businesses are on the brink of shuttering their doors.

Although government assistance has been granted to some, many Malaysians must still strive to earn an income.

Since the MCO, the list of restaurants on delivery apps has grown significantly. Some apps have even included deliveries from wet market stores, convenience stores and pharmacies. That has appeared to be the simplest way for people to convert their once solid traditional business into a thriving one online.

Importance of planning

Single mother of five Fira Rahim has also adapted to the new normal and found her way of weathering the storm.

With her husband currently serving time in prison, she has had to be the sole breadwinner in her family. Her oldest child is 15 while her youngest is only three years old.

For the past three years, she has been operating a roadside nasi kerabu stall in Puchong, Selangor, that was frequented by office workers.

Fira Rahim provides grocery-shopping services to assist many families in Puchong.Fira Rahim provides grocery-shopping services to assist many families in Puchong.

“Once the MCO was implemented, I had to close my stall as roadside stalls were not permitted to operate. But just because I had to close my stall didn’t mean I couldn’t work.

“I decided to become a ‘service runner’. I advertised my service on my personal Facebook page (, and since then, I have been providing my grocery shopping services to assist many families in Puchong, ” said Fira.

Additionally, she also uses Facebook Marketplace to sell her homemade doughnuts, fresh vegetables and nasi kerabu.

“I have a menu that I constantly change, and am now already working on finalising my Ramadan menu. All my orders are delivered to my customers by same-day dispatch, ” she explained.

Fira is also not one to wallow in self-pity despite her hardship.

“People always look at me and say, ‘You’re a single mother. It must be so difficult. What can you do? I hope someone will help you.’

“But I want to tell them, yes, I am a single mother, but I do not need to wait for someone to help me. Being a single mother is not a reason to give up and find someone to blame.

“Whether we get help or not, whether the government will give us money or not, that is not important. Planning is important. We have to plan how to survive, ” she said.

Her children are her source of strength.

“Even my children have to be understanding when I can’t spend the time that I want to with them. I tell them to understand and support me instead of crying, and that I am doing it for them.”

Delivery service

Nik Ailify Aizat Muhammad has been running a successful seafood stall at the Section 17 wet market in Petaling Jaya for three years.

Since the MCO, he has been providing an extra service to customers – an online delivery service.

“We do door-to-door delivery within the Klang Valley. It’s been quite a surprise because we received such good response that we’ve had to double our seafood stock daily, ” said Nik Ailify Aizat.

Their online marketing is carried out via their Instagram (@barangdapurfresh and, and personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“We still maintain our business at the market where we service our walk-in customers. And for those who visit us, we make sure to be careful and follow the rules set by the Health Ministry, ” he said.

“It’s getting hard to get fresh seafood but we are doing our best to maintain our quality of seafood.”

Online content

Before the MCO, professional musician Daniel Lau was making a living teaching at different music centres and performing for almost 10 years. He is a guitarist ( with Malaysian songwriter Zee Avi and plays the bass for the band No Tyra.

Daniel Lau has moved all his music lessons online via video calls.Daniel Lau has moved all his music lessons online via video calls.

“Music performing no longer provides any source of income. However, this might slowly change as performers move towards creating more online content (online concerts), ” said Lau.

”All music lessons have now been moved online via video calls. After some initial technical problems, the lessons are now running smoothly and satisfactorily.

“Not all students have jumped on board with the new way the lessons are run, but those who have seem to be getting on great. Hopefully, more people will understand that they can still take away a lot from online sessions, ” he said.

One of the main challenges music instructors face, he added, is the inability to play along with the student in real time.

“To overcome this, I need to prepare backing tracks and demo videos, or have the student set up an audible metronome for playback.

“This setback, however, can also encourage the student to develop more autonomous learning and take more responsibility for their musical progress, ” he said.

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