PETALING JAYA: Mamak and Indian restaurant operators say the government should restrict their opening hours after the recovery movement control order (MCO).
The Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) said the government should not allow 24-hour operation when the recovery MCO ends on Dec 31, with its president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan saying the new 2am closing time ruling was reasonable.
“I feel we cannot return to the 24-hour operation,” he said, citing worker issues and a healthy lifestyle as his reasons for not wanting to operate round the clock.
Jawahar said that when 24-hour mamak restaurants were told to close at midnight, his workers managed to go back and rest.
“We close at 11.45pm and then clean our shops. This gives workers time to rest,” he said, adding that some of his restaurants even introduced self-service counters due to changes in operating hours.
Presma secretary-general Habebur Rahman Shahul Hameed agreed, saying its members would support the government’s decision.
He said he managed to cut cost at his restaurant in Kelana Jaya, Selangor, by closing at midnight.
Abdul Mukthahir Ibrahim, manager of the Salam Sentosa restaurant chain, said it was better to discourage gatherings due to the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases of late.
“Opening 24 hours would encourage more customers to stop by. We support the government’s initiative to discourage people from hanging out late,” he said, adding that late-night security was another factor.
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) president T. Muthusamy said priority must be given to factors that could contain the spread of the virus.
Lotus Group managing director Datuk R. Ramalingam Pillai said there were reasons to consider some form of restriction to hours.
“Until the situation improves, it is better to limit the hours. Hygiene is a top priority,” said the honorary chairman of Primas.