Sibu coffeeshop operators seek licence fee waiver

Tong (right) presenting his request to Chieng at the dialogue session.

SIBU: Coffeeshop operators who have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent slowdown in business are asking for some relief.

The operators through the Sibu Coffeeshops and Restaurant Owners Association have sought the assistance of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) leadership here to bring up their requests to the higher authority.

Association chairman Tong Ing Kok highlighted several of their requests at a recent dialogue with the party.

Those present from SUPP included Bawang Assan chairman Robert Lau Hui Yew, Dudong branch chairman Wong Ching Yong, Bukit Assek Youth chairman Chieng Buong Toon and political secretary to the Chief Minister, Michael Tiang.

According to Tong, coffeeshop operators here were badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With poor business, we still have to pay our monthly rental to our landlord, ” he said, adding that several coffeeshops had closed as a result.

He appealed to the relevant authorities to help lessen their burden by waiving the licence fee for 2021.

“We also hope the council would waive the application fee for a permit to use the five-foot way for tables and chairs, ” he said.

In addition, he wanted the state government to allow coffeeshop operators to apply for the RM2,250 Sarawakku Sayang financial relief.

Chieng, who is also Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Building Control and Town Beautification chairman, later told reporters that he would bring up the issues with the council.

This includes the licence fee and five-foot way permit fee.

“There are 805 coffee shops under SMC jurisdiction. Out of this, 500 of them have already applied for the five-foot way permit for 2020.

“Some of them have paid more than RM1,000 for the fee for the whole year.

“They felt that it is a big burden for them and sought a waiver, ” he said.

On Sarawakku Sayang financial relief, Chieng said hawkers in coffeeshops were entitled to it but not coffeeshop operators.

“We will bring this up to the state government, ” assured Chieng.

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