THE movement control order (MCO) has placed a lot of pressure on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those that do not fall under essential categories.
And one such business is hardware shops, which are struggling to generate income during this period.
To compound their problems, many are being chased by suppliers for outstanding payments.
The problem is more acute in the capital city as Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has yet to decide whether hardware shops can operate during the MCO.
For the record, the National Security Council (NSC) allows hardware shops to operate throughout the second phase of the MCO (April 1 to 14), but for only two days a week.
This, however, is subject to the respective local authorities’ guidelines.
As per the NSC guideline, Selangor allows hardware shops to operate twice a week --- on Mondays and Thursdays from 8am to 4pm.
Other states such as Negri Sembilan, Perak, Penang and Sabah have also allowed them to operate.
Hardware and Building Materials Merchants Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (PPBLBKLS) secretary Low Chung King said he had been getting distress calls from members being chased for payments by their suppliers.
“Our members are now receiving notices from their respective suppliers asking them to settle overdue payments first before a new order is shipped.
“Those who cannot settle within the time frame given will be charged monthly interest on the outstanding balance, ” he added.
Low said due to DBKL’s silence on the matter, hardware operators in the city were unable to resume business.
“We have not had any revenue for 28 days.
“Before the MCO began, many of us stocked up on building materials, paint and household items in preparation for the Hari Raya celebrations.
“With no clear guidelines from DBKL on how to operate, we are struggling, ” he said, adding that there were about 100 hardware shop operators in the capital city facing a financial crunch.
StarMetro has learnt that DBKL is still mulling over whether or not to allow the hardware shops to resume operations and seeking advice and feedback from its Licensing and Health departments.
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