Traders seek government’s help to offset losses

  • Metro News
  • Saturday, 21 Mar 2020

Customers queueing far from each other when waiting for their turn to buy food at a restaurant in SS2 Petaling Jaya.

TRADERS are calling on the government to help them as they are experiencing heavy losses.

Even before their businesses were disrupted by the movement control order to contain the spread of Covid-19, the challenging economic situation was already taking a toll on them.

Malaysian Indian Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Datuk Syed Jamarul Khan said about 10,000 Indian Muslim traders and entrepreneurs were affected.

He suggested that the government work with banks to possibly reduce loan interest rates or defer repayments to cushion the blow.

“We are not asking for handouts but for them to look into helping cash-strapped traders.

“Everyone is affected, from business owners and landlords down to the workers, ” he said.

Syed Jamarul added that the traders affected included those in the food and beverage, moneychanging, textile, jewellery and car rental business.

Federal Hawkers and Petty Traders Association of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Rosli Sulaiman also wanted the Federal Territories Ministry to help traders by providing incentives or compensation to reduce their financial burden.

“A lot of them (traders) are sole breadwinners in their family, so this is a very challenging time for them.

“The government should at least try to help licensed traders because we do not know how long this movement control order will last, ” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the success stories in coping with the new situation was the community entrepreneurial platform Caring Moms.

Even though its physical bazaar which was to be held in conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 7 and 8 had to be called off, it organised a Women’s Day e-bazaar from March 6 to 16 instead.

In a statement, the group said the safety and health of the public was more important.

The online platform enabled sellers and shoppers to interact with one another and took place in real- time where buyers could shop from anywhere as long as they had a smartphone, tablet or computer with Internet access.

The e-bazaar had 42 registered sellers who bought and offered products and services ranging from skincare, bath products, make-up, clothing and accessories to food and home catering.

Schedules for the sellers’ Facebook live sessions were posted in advance to allow shoppers to know the topics and products.

“The e-bazaar helped to ensure it was business as usual for the home-based ‘mompreneurs’.

“A whopping RM141,410 was recorded during the 11-day sale. It proved to be an economic breakthrough in this trying time of the Covid-19 outbreak, ” the statement said.

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