JOHOR BARU: A total of 178 existing and new food truck operators have received a one-off grant from the Johor government to give their business a much-needed boost.
Wong Wee Liang, 34, who has been running his food truck business in Kulai for close to two years, said the RM3,000 assistance was appreciated as his business had dropped by at least 70% following the economic slowdown due to Covid-19.
“I gave up my job as a sales consultant in Singapore about two years ago to venture into the food business.
“My business relies mostly on events, where I serve cotton candy and ice cream.
“When the movement control order (MCO) was imposed in March, my business suffered greatly as events were not allowed to be held.
“Things are picking up slowly and with this grant, I will start to introduce new products to add to my existing menu, ” he said after receiving the grant from Johor investment, cooperatives, entrepreneurship development and human resources committee chairman Mohd Izhar Ahmad.
Another recipient, Irwan Shah Muhammad, 37, who has been selling ice-blended beverages at night markets since six years ago, said he would be using the grant to mobilise his business.
He said he was in the middle of applying for a food truck from a cooperative after deciding to switch over to that business concept.
“Local councils have also been encouraging traders like me to explore food trucks, as it is more mobile and convenient to take part in events that way.
“For some, RM3,000 might not seem much but for petty traders and small-time food operators like me whose income were affected by the pandemic and night market closure due to Covid-19, this was a relief for us to move our business forward.
“I hope to get additional income by expanding my business with a food truck where I can move about more freely and also work with food delivery services to reach more customers, ” added Irwan Shah.
For Wahidah Asyikin Abdul Samad, 33, the grant could not have come at a better time.
She plans to use the money for the maintenance and repairs of her food truck.
“I started out as a home-based business selling western food, before upgrading to a food truck in 2018.
“I am lucky that I have experience in running a home-based business before this, so I can still continue selling my items via online and delivery.
“Even so, I faced a drop of about 40% in orders.
“When I saw news of the grant, I jumped at the opportunity to apply and was selected to be interviewed. Eventually, my application was approved, ” she said.
Mohd Izhar said a total of RM534,000 in grants was disbursed to the existing and new food truck operators in the programme.
“We realise that RM3,000 may not be a big sum but we hope the amount will give the operators a boost in their business and encourage more food truck participation.
“My committee will also work with district offices and local councils to introduce at least 10 trading sites for food trucks in each of the state’s 10 districts.
“The spaces have been identified but the matter is subject to approval of the respective local councils, ” he said.
He added that the details would be announced once they received the necessary approvals.
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