Mamak eateries seek to open past 8pm during Ramadan

Much sought after: Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar workers preparing takeaways at one of its outlets.

PETALING JAYA: Mamak restaurants are asking for extended opening hours as they prepare for the Ramadan crowd.

Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said the present closing time of 8pm should be extended to cater to those who wanted to buy food for sahur (pre-dawn buka puasa meal).

“We are waiting to hear if there will be a change announced by the government. As for now, most of our members are asking whether they can open for sahur (pre-dawn meal),” he said yesterday.

Jawahar said that Presma had been in contact with Bazaar Ramadan food sellers, inviting them to sell their dishes at their restaurants.

“Since Ramadan bazaars are not allowed this year, we are thinking of a profit-sharing model where they can have space in our restaurants,” he said, adding that the matter was still under discussion.

He said that this would be a “win win” situation for both the traders and restaurants, as many mamak restaurants have been seeing only about 20% in sales compared to the pre-MCO period.

Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar managing director Burhan Mohamed said he hoped that restaurants would be allowed to open until at least 10pm.

“Normally during the fasting month, we would see a rise in business when Muslims come for tea or supper after their terawih prayers, and some would buy takeaways for sahur,” he added.

He said sales had been heavily impacted by the MCO.

“My business has dropped by about 80%, and we have temporarily closed down about 10 of our outlets. But the initiatives introduced by the government for SMEs have helped cushion the blow,” he said.

Former Presma president and owner of the ABC Bistro chain of Indian Muslim restaurants, Ayub Khan said many of his customers were hoping they would be able to buy sahur meals.

“The customers are requesting that restaurants be allowed to open for longer hours in the evening so that they can pack food for sahur,” he said.

He said his business has dipped by between 70% and 80% during the MCO.

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