JOHOR BARU: The Larkin Sentral Terminal, which is normally crowded during the period nearing Hari Raya Aidilfitri, was a forlorn sight this year.
There was no crowd waiting to board buses to their hometowns to celebrate with their families.
The terminal in Jalan Garuda here offers direct bus services to and from many cities and towns in the peninsula, Singapore and Hat Yai in Thailand.
Serz Enterpise luggage storage services manager Emelia Salleh said the company’s business dropped drastically throughout the phases of the movement control order (MCO).
She said the easing of restrictions under the conditional MCO on May 4 had not changed the situation at the terminal much.
“Many people stayed put and avoided travelling, to comply with interstate travel restrictions under the MCO.
“There are no customers keeping their luggage with us since we opened for business on May 4, ’’ said Emelia.
She said that apart from locals, the company also depended on Malaysians working in Singapore taking express buses to celebrate Hari Raya in their hometowns.
“Some used to come early to the bus terminal and kept their things in the luggage lockers then go to the shopping centres nearby. It was convenient as they did not have to lug their bags with them.
“Now that bus services from Singapore to here have been temporarily suspended due to Covid-19, we are badly affected, ’’ said Emelia.
Citibloom Sdn Bhd money changer and money transfer counter staff Nur Arrisa Natasya Yusni said business had been slow since the outbreak.
“Most of the company’s passengers were Singaporeans and Malaysians working in the island republic.
“With the rules and regulations imposed on travel, we are badly affected.”
She said business used to be good, especially on weekends, as many Singaporeans would take buses and taxis from the republic to Larkin Sentral.
“Business was always good during Ramadan as many Singaporeans would come here to shop for Hari Raya, ’’ said Nur Arissa.
She said most of her customers now were Bangladeshi and Indonesian workers sending money to their families, adding that she handled about 20 customers using the money remittance services from 9am to 4pm daily.
Ramadan Collection boutique owner Mazura Muhamad said that prior to the MCO and conditional MCO, she could make between RM500 and RM1,000 a day from Monday to Friday.
“Business was good on weekends as 80% of my customers were Singaporeans. I could make about RM3,000 then, ’’ she said.
Mazura, who sells scarves, baju kurung and middle eastern-style robes, lamented the lack of income since the MCO started.
“I reopened for business under the conditional MCO, from 9.30am to 4pm, but due to very few shoppers, my daily takings are low, ” she said.
However, she was thankful that she had not bought new stock for her shop to cater to Hari Raya Aidilfitri shoppers.
“I had ordered items costing some RM20,000 but cancelled it after the announcement of the MCO, ” she said.
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