Eateries hungry for relief

PETALING JAYA: Mamak restaurants and other eateries are hoping in earnest for the government to come up with a comprehensive financial assistance plan for them in Budget 2021.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said their members held a pre-Budget meeting with the Finance Ministry recently to give their input and suggestions for the betterment of the industry and economy as a whole.

He said Presma was working together to find solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic as the recent spike of cases had aggravated the situation further, causing their members to struggle to survive.

“We hope the government can extend the bank loan moratorium automatically by another three or six months.

“I am very much concerned and afraid that our members may resort to borrowing money from loan sharks if the government doesn’t provide assistance to us, ” he added.

The conditional movement control order (MCO) enforced in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya has been extended for another two weeks. The second phase of the conditional MCO is scheduled to end on Nov 9.

Jawahar also urged the government to abolish the Sales and Services Tax (SST) of 6% imposed on restaurants.

“The abolishment will be a great relief to customers as the price of food will be cheaper and operators need not compete with street food pedlars who are rising in numbers during this MCO, ” he said.

Jawahar also asked the government to give financial assistance to their members to help them sustain their business during this trying time.

He also offered other suggestions, including the waiver of corporate tax and individual tax for year 2020 and 2021.

The levy for foreign workers from year one to year 13 should be streamlined and reduced for a certain period of time, he added.

Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association (MSCSPGA) president Datuk Ho Su Mong said he expected business would go down by 50% following the MCO extension.

“Customers still have the fear to eat out due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the extension of the MCO, we are worried our situation will worsen, ” he said.

He urged the government to give some form of relief in terms of EPF deductions, where both employers and employees contribute 5% until the situation gets better.

“We don’t want retrenchment as we care for our workers. We hope the government can help us in Budget 2021 and assist micro-businesses so that we can carry on, ” he added.

Ho noted that it would be good if the government and Bank Negara Malaysia allocate small zero-interest loans or small grant loans.

“We need loans of between RM5,000 and RM10,000 for a period of one year as our cashflow is ‘sick’, ” he said.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) president T. Muthusamy said their members were struggling to find customers even as the Deepavali period was approaching.

“The current conditional MCO is giving us a tough time financially, ” he said, adding that all the members were complying with the standard operating procedure.

Muthusamy asked the government to discuss with Tenaga Nasional Berhad or the water utility companies on the issue of outstanding payments.

“Many members could not pay their outstanding bills and their supply might be cut.

“We hope the authorities can be considerate and give us a plan such as consolidating the outstanding bills that can be paid within 12 months.

“We cannot continue without basic utilities and we are facing high rental bills from owners, ” he added.

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