JOHOR BARU: Small-time food traders are happy to be back in business again after being forced to close for almost three months due to the movement control order (MCO).
Apam balik seller Syafrizal Rasul, 62, who has been operating around the Johor Jaya area for the past eight years, was visibly relieved to be able to reopen his stall.
He told StarMetro that he had been at his wits end during the MCO due to financial pressures.
“I needed to borrow money from friends to buy food, but like me, my friends were also in a tight spot and did not have much to lend me.
“When it was announced that the recovery MCO was in place and restrictions on trading lifted, I felt relieved as I could finally earn a living again,” he said, adding he expected more people to be out and about.
Syafrizal said to get his stall operating again, he had to borrow money to buy canned sweet corn, flour and sugar as well as petrol for his van.
When asked how much he earns in a day, he said that previously, he could sell about 80 pieces of apam balik priced at RM1 each.
“Customers are hard to come by now, so even selling 50 pieces is a challenge,” he said, adding that he hoped to see better business in the weeks to come.
Food truck operator Roszelin Hassan Mokhtar, 39, said that she only managed to make it through the MCO by cooking at home and selling to her neighbours.
“Sometimes, those around my neighbourhood order food from me and I would deliver to their homes.
“But I only received about 10 customers from March 18 to June 1,” she said, adding that prior to the MCO, she usually had about 20 to 30 customers visiting her food truck every day.
Her operating hours too have been cut down, as the stall in Taman Molek, which used to open from 5pm to midnight, closes at 10pm now due to fewer customers.
Burger seller Khairul Ariffin, 30, said that he made do with delivering homemade burgers to customers when he was unable to open his stall.
“In the two months my stall was closed, I only sold a grand total of 20 burgers,” he said.
He added that he was fortunate not to go bankrupt during the MCO, and was happy business was booming again.
“Now with my stall in Johor Jaya operating, I see a massive increase in customers, even when compared to previous years.
“I think the public missed eating burgers during the MCO, and are now filling the cravings they had when they were stuck at home,” he said.