Trouble for wholesale market

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 13 Jun 2020

Perishable stock: Workers at a wholesale market in Kuala Lumpur arranging sacks of onions. ­— SS KANESAN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Waiting long hours at Pasar Borong Kuala Lumpur has become a “new norm” too, with the lack of foreign workers to load and unload goods, according to wholesalers.

Apart from the long wait, traders and customers also have to bear with the fluctuating prices of seafood and vegetables.

Maju A & A Wholesaler Sdn Bhd supervisor Muhd Faiz Abd Rahim said manpower at the market had shrunk by a third, as the bulk of foreign workers were no longer allowed to work there.

“Prior to the lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, we used to have about 60 workers working in shifts round-the-clock. Now we only have 20 workers, 15 being locals, ” he said.

Muhd Faiz said sales had dropped by more than 60% after the market was re-opened following a three-week lockdown from April 20 to May 12.

“Even during the lockdown, we suffered a hefty loss because perishable goods have short shelf lives, ” he said.

He said they could no longer deliver goods as fast as before because of the shortage of hands.Even walk-in customers had to wait between 30 minutes to an hour.

Muhd Faiz said business had also dropped significantly because the bulk of their customers were foreigners.

Original Kayu Nasi Kandar managing director Burhan Mohamed said waiting long hours to buy raw material from the wholesale market was causing problems.

“It takes between four to five hours for our workers to get the supply from the market, ” he said.

Besides that, he said the price of fresh seafood had increased drastically.

“The price of mackerel went up from about RM27 to RM36 per kg. Even the price of fresh squid went up from about RM27 to RM35 per kg.

“Price of chicken went up from RM4.20 to RM7.50. However, we are still maintaining the price of dishes. It is tough, ” he said.

Vegetable seller Tan Kai Hiang said the price of coriander and cucumber had gone up drastically.

“Coriander now costs about RM40 per kg. The price of cucumber went up to RM6 a kg from RM3, ” he added.

But he said the price of tomato, spinach, chilli and other perishable goods have dropped.

“The price of parsley dropped from RM30 a kg last week to RM25 a kg this week.

“The price is still high compared to before, ” he said.

Raviraj Sdn Bhd managing director V. Rajendran said many perishable items were being sold at a loss.

He said while the price of Malawi dhall went up by 20%, onions and potatoes were being sold below the import price.

“Everything virtually came to a standstill after the Selayang wholesale market lockdown.

“Traders are selling at a loss because they need to dispose the perishable goods quickly, ” he said.

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