Feeding a need


Photos By VENESA DEVI

Nor Rozana said she sets up stall at 1.30am a Jalan Bertingkat Skudai to cater to the needs of Malaysians working in Singapore.

JOHOR BARU: It may be hard to believe but for thousands of Malaysians travelling daily to Singapore for work, waking up just hours after midnight is the norm.

Some leave the comfort of their homes, which could be as far away as Simpang Renggam (about 70km away), as early as 1am to avoid the traffic congestion and to catch up on their respective morning shift schedules.

Joining them in the early morning ritual are enterprising traders selling food catering specifically to the needs of those commuting to Singapore daily via the Second Link and the Causeway.

Nor Rozana Sada, 40, said she wakes up before midnight every day to prepare a variety of food for her customers to pack before heading for work across the Straits of Johor.

“I set up the stall at about 1.30 every morning as those working the morning shift in Singapore will normally start leaving their home at about 2am to avoid traffic at the checkpoints.

“Most of the food will usually be sold out by about 6am or latest by 7am each day, ” she said when met at her stall near a petrol station at Jalan Bertingkat Skudai here, a strategic spot as motorists from Kulai need to pass through on their way to either links to Singapore.

Lee (in red shirt) attending to a customer at her stall. She has been selling food to motorists headed to work in Singapore for 16 years.Lee (in red shirt) attending to a customer at her stall. She has been selling food to motorists headed to work in Singapore for 16 years.

She added that besides simple breakfast menus such as traditional kuih-muih, curry puff and nasi lemak, she also sells more substantial lunch fare for her customers.

“A lot of my customers will also pack food for lunch here or other stalls on their way to Singapore as it is a lot cheaper.

“I will pack the gravy and sambal separately from the rice to ensure that it will last until the afternoon, ” she said.

Another trader selling food near the area, who only wanted to be known as Lee, 50, said she has been catering to those working in Singapore for over 16 years.

“I will start cooking at about 9pm or 10pm at night and will head over to my stall here at about 2am every day.

“I am usually busiest at about 4am to 5am as most customers drop by at around this time, ” she said, adding that she serves between 50 and 100 customers daily.

Contractor L. Veeranthiran, 37, who frequents the stalls here said he prefers buying food in Johor as it is a lot cheaper than in Singapore.

“I have to leave my house in Kulai at about 3am every morning as the traffic at checkpoints normally starts to build up at around 5.30am at both the Causeway and the Second Link.

“I prefer buying food at the stalls here not only because it is much cheaper but also because it is convenient for me to drop by on my way to work, without having to make a long detour, ” he said.

It is estimated that over 40, 000 motorcyclists commute daily from Johor to Singapore via the Causeway and Second Link.

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