Companies in non-essential service up and running now

A NUMBER of non-essential service factories were spotted operating again after being closed during the movement control order (MCO).

After being shuttered for weeks, a check on Penang’s industrial areas showed that their doors were open again.

When asked, they said that they were recently given special permission by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) to reopen.

One of the companies seen running again was an office supplies factory in Bayan Lepas that mainly makes office files.

The car park in the front of the factory was full and the cargo loading bay was open with boxes of goods stacked from floor to ceiling.

Two lorries were seen queueing to get into the loading bay. A lone man with a mask pulled down to his chin was spotted having a cigarette just outside the gate.

When contacted, a manager of the factory said they were recently given approval by Miti to “run certain operations”.

She did not reveal details of the Miti approval.

In Gelugor, the owner of a waste recycling company also said he received Miti approval on Monday to restart operations.

Recycling was not deemed an essential service when the MCO was first imposed.

“We collect industrial waste from many factories in Bayan Lepas and had to stop operations during the MCO, ” he said.

Meanwhile, the delay in jump-starting business through the conditional MCO in Penang had ‘thrown the spanner’ in the works of restaurants in the state.

A decades-old Indian food caterer and restaurant chain owner said he had informed all his workers in 13 restaurants across several states that they were to open for dine-in from Monday.

“We started cleaning the restaurants, got the workers back in, planned their work schedules, started marketing and took catering orders, ” said restaurant owner J. Suresh.

“However, since Penang did not allow the conditional MCO, we had to stop all the preparations here and told our over 300 workers to stay put and wait for a new date.”

Suresh said although he was disappointed, he agreed with Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow that the people’s health and safety came first.

“At present, we are doing catering and takeaways, just to ensure that regular customers are taken care off during the MCO.”

The owner of a nasi kandar restaurant with three outlets in Penang said 20 of his workers were called in on the night of Labour Day to clean the three outlets.

“It was a lot of work and we thought we could see some extra income during the fasting month, but it did not happen, ” said owner Mohamed Ridhuan Mohd Noor.

“We respect the state’s decision and hope the restaurant can be opened soon, ” he said.

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