All too quiet for their liking

Businesses located along Jalan Yahya Aldatar and Jalan Ibrahim Sultan in Johor Baru are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, just like those downtown.

Before the pandemic and the closing of the border between Malaysia and Singapore, the

business owners said business was good as most customers were locals working in Singapore.

Some businesses then were operating round-the-clock to cater to Malaysians and visitors from Singapore entering the country via the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex.

“With the start of the movement control order on March 18, the situation changed drastically.

“It is very quiet now, ’’ said Nashi Grocery Store assistant Ibrahim Abdul Aziz, 37.

He said the outlet now operated only from 7am to 10pm daily.

Ibrahim said most of their customers were Malaysians working in Singapore.

“They are now either stuck in Singapore or have lost their jobs, ’’ he said, adding that business was down by 85%.

JJL Kopitiam proprietor Lim Lok Sek said his business dropped by almost 90% in the past 10 months.

Prior to the pandemic, he said the place would be packed with locals having their breakfast before commuting to work in Singapore.

“I have been operating the kopitiam for over 15 years and this is the worst situation so far that I have seen, ’’ said Lim.

The 75-year-old said even rooms and houses in the nearby Taman Serene rented by locals working in Singapore were now unoccupied.

He said most of the shops operating along Jalan Yahya Aldatar, where his kopitiam is located, had ceased operations.

PC Money Changer counter assistant Siti Fairuz Shahul Hamid said the business remained open to cater to Malaysian lorry drivers delivering goods to Singapore.

She said that prior to the pandemic, the money changing business was operating round-the-clock, catering mostly to Malaysians working in the city state and Singaporeans.

“The lorry drivers do not change that much cash, the most they want is between S$20 and S$30 (RM61.02 and RM91.52), enough for their meals there, ’’ said Siti Fairuz, 23.

She said B Point, where the money changing outlet was located, used to be abuzz with people, especially Malaysians coming back from work in Singapore to have their meals.

She noted that it was quiet now and that the outlet opened from 8am to 7pm.

“December used to be a busy month for us due to the long school holidays but not this year.

“I really hope the situation will return to normal next year, ’’ she added.

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