The 57-year-old, who had been selling fresh coconuts and coconut water for just over a year, said he was forced to cease his business shortly after the MCO began.
“My business suffered greatly and I could not pay the rent as there were no customers during that period since people were told to stay at home. I had no choice but to close shop.
“When the regulations were relaxed in June, somebody else had already rented the shoplot.
“It is difficult for me to restart my business from scratch elsewhere because of my limited income,” he said when met at a seminar organised by the Johor Indian Business Association (Jiba).
Prem said that thankfully, he found an opportunity to start a cellphone SIM card dealership and was thus able to earn some income to support his family.
“The Jiba seminar was informative and I took the opportunity to apply for the Tekun financing scheme at one of the booths,” he said in referring to the National Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (Tekun) micro-sector recovery scheme.
Another participant, who wanted to be known only as Siva, said the seminar was helpful to him as a business owner who was affected by the pandemic.
“The speakers were knowledgeable about the loans and financial schemes for small and medium businesses like mine.
“It gave me an opportunity to exchange views with other affected business owners,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jiba chairman P. Sivakumar said that about 80 business owners and retrenched wage-earners attended the talk, which focused on knowledge sharing on how to better prepare for and what to expect when the moratorium period ended on Sept 30.
“After listening to participants’ feedback, Jiba would like to appeal to the banks to play a more proactive role and be more flexible about loan repayment.
“This is because many are still unable to get a job or had their salary cut by half.
“During the talk, we also gave participants tips on saving money and more efficient financial management so that they can weather other unforeseeable circumstances in the future,” he said.
Did you find this article insightful?
100% readers found this article insightful