GEORGE TOWN: A gloomy state of affairs has engulfed Little India, with outlets from jewellery stores to textiles in a quandary over whether they will be allowed operate during the movement control order (MCO).The confusing state of affairs is a result of an appendix of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Tuesday (Jan 12) by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, which says businesses involved in retail, distribution and wholesaling were among commercial services allowed to operate.
"I am waiting for a directive from my association in Kuala Lumpur before the next course of action although I closed my shop during the last MCO," said a jewellery outlet owner, Krishnan Manickam in Market Street.
"There isn't a clear directive if we have to remain closed although we are classified under the non-essential businesses."
However, textile store owner, P. Ramalingam said he will be closing his shop in Market Street for the next two weeks."It has come to a question of survival for us, as we have undergone several phases of closing and opening the business over the last 10 months.
"The present MCO comes during the worse time as there hasn't been any business since Deepavali and now with no Thaipusam celebration, business is severely affected."
Restaurants and eateries have already closed their dining areas, and with only takeaways allowed, owners are lamenting that it is going to be another blow to their business revival.
Restaurant owners are facing serious issues with what to do with the number of workers, especially waiters who will not be needed during the MCO.
"It is a double whammy for us, as we will be only doing 20% of our normal business during MCO and all the 300 workers from our 13 outlets throughout the country will have to be paid," said restaurant owner V. Harikrishnan."We can't let these workers go as we will need them once the MCO is over, but until then we will have to sustain the business and what if the MCO runs for several months," asked Harikrishnan.
"There must be a consistent approach to the pandemic as businesses can't handle this 'roller coaster' ride every time when the government comes out with a new directive."
Another restaurant owner, Datuk N. Ramanathan said business which was just picking up and his three restaurants in Little India will be badly hit with the implementation of the MCO.
"What am I going to do with my 40 workers who will be redundant as we need only a few to handle takeaway business.
"It is a question mark if we could sustain if the MCO is extended for a month after the two weeks period," added Ramanathan.
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