‘Help us get back on our feet’

Yow (second from right) talking to a trader during a walkabout at a morning market near Jalan Dedap 15 in Taman Johor Jaya, Johor Baru.

THE Malaysia Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations is calling on the Federal Government to give special attention to small traders under Budget 2022 that is expected to be tabled this month.

Its president Datuk Yow Boon Choon said it would take a long time for these traders to get back on their feet after being badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent movement control order.

This is despite the authorities allowing morning and night market traders to operate under the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

“Throughout the MCO, a majority of the traders were not allowed to conduct business due to the pandemic.

“Only a handful of those selling food were given temporary licence by the local councils to open their stalls by the roadside, for which we are thankful,” he said at a press conference after conducting a walkabout at Johor Jaya morning market.

Yow, who is also South Johor Hawkers and Petty Traders Association president, said there were at least 30,000 licensed traders under the jurisdiction of Johor Baru City Council (MBJB), Iskandar Puteri City Council (MBIP), Pasir Gudang City Council (MBPG) and Kulai Municipal Council (MPKu).

He said that as traders were not allowed to operate, many faced financial difficulties and some had to wind up their business.

He added that the traders still had to pay their monthly housing and car loans on top of other expenses even though a majority of them could not earn an income throughout the MCO.

“We thank the government for introducing the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP) but we are hoping that the one-off financial assistance will continue for traders until the economic situation improves,” said Yow.

He also hoped that the government would reintroduce the moratorium assistance to petty traders under Budget 2022.

Although morning and night markets were allowed to open now, he said traders could not expect the same large crowds that they enjoyed in pre-pandemic days.

Night markets under South Johor Hawkers and Petty Traders Association have been open since Oct 15 at nine locations in MBJB’s jurisdiction.

“We will ensure every trader and visitor abides by the standard operating procedures imposed by the National Security Council and the local council.

“This includes allowing only those fully vaccinated to enter the markets and following all the SOP, including having Rela personnel to ensure that all follow the SOP,” added Yow.

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