Stop order for food trucks

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 21 Mar 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Food trucks in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya are no longer allowed to operate during the movement control order (MCO) period, in a new ruling meant to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said food truck operators had been asked to suspend their operations until March 31.

Annuar said the decision was made after observations by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) personnel who found that food trucks were still attracting crowds during a period where social distancing was important.

“At first, we allowed food trucks to operate for customers to take away their food.

“But from our observation, the food trucks in the city were parked at one place in large numbers – sometimes there can be up to 40 food trucks in an area – and this has led to a large crowd.

“This defeats the purpose of the MCO,” said Annuar in a press conference held after he chaired the Federal Territories security working committee meeting yesterday.

Food truck operators, he said, have also agreed to stop operating during the MCO period.

“They agreed to this and I thank them for that,” he added.

A check by The Star found that the announcement had put some food truck operators in a bind.

While they understood the importance of the decision – made to ensure Malaysians practise social distancing – shutting their food truck temporarily meant that there would be no income for them until March 31.

Gringo’s Malaysia managing partner Azhan Benny Foo said his Tex-Mex-themed food truck had been shut since the MCO was enforced.

“We’ve received a directive from DBKL that we will be unable to operate during the MCO period.

“We are tremendously affected as we still have to bear our food and raw material cost, and staff salaries need to be paid,” Azhan said, adding that for now he was bearing these costs using personal funds.

“We are stuck in between. Every day we are closed, we lose money, but at the same time we want to be responsible citizens and play our part in curbing the increase in Covid-19 cases,” he added.

Pasta La Pasta food truck owner Zuhairi Hamzah is facing the same dilemma.

He said he had stopped selling pasta from his truck, opting to deliver the dishes directly to his customer’s house during the MCO period.

“We’ve lost our source of income when we were told we couldn’t operate. Some of the staff members are on unpaid leave,” he said, hoping the ministry could review the ruling.

“Maybe there can be a spot where only one or two food trucks are allowed to operate at one time, so that there isn’t a crowd.”

Kuala Lumpur Food Truck Entrepreneurs Association president Muhammad Azlan Abas said that while the association understood the reason behind the ruling, it hoped the ministry and DBKL could help food truck owners who were hard hit.

“For many, that is their sole source of income,” said Azlan.

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