For some, MCO 1.0 was a boon

Impressive: Fong showing a basket filled with beetroot collected from organic farmers in Cameron Highlands.

KLANG: When the movement control order (MCO) was first imposed in March last year, many especially those who had started small scale businesses, were bracing for an adverse impact.

With their businesses already struggling, the strict MCO did not offer them any hope of being able to make ends meet.

Some of these proprietors now agreed that the MCO was actually helpful to propel and revive their businesses in stages.

Muhd Rahimi Osman, 36, recalled how he was struggling with his fish delivery business which he set up back in 2018.

“I worked for a Barisan Nasional government-linked NGO and when the coalition lost in the general election in 2018, my five colleagues and I were out of a job, ” he related.

He then set up his online delivery business called Kikan Fresh and took orders to buy fresh fish from the Kuala Selangor jetty and the local fish market there.

“But business was quite slow as the people were still not too familiar with online business or use social media apps to make purchases, ” said Muhd Rahimi.

Then came the announcement by the government to enforce the MCO nationwide.

Muhd Rahimi said suddenly, orders started to pour in through social media platforms such as Facebook.

“There were so many people interested to buy fish from us that our customers had to pre-order a week earlier during the peak of the MCO.

“We implemented the queue system and customers had to wait for about a week to receive their orders due to high demand, ” he said.

Currently, with the relaxation of the restriction order, Muhd Rahimi said he was thankful that he could still retain 50% of his customers.

For Elemente Foong, 36, and Lim Hui Hui, 30, a small business they started in late 2019 has now become their main source of income.

The cousins attributed it the MCO for the turn of events.

“We used to sell organic fertilisers to vegetable farmers in Cameron Highlands, ” recalled Foong.

“The farmers then suggested we help sell their produce directly to consumers in the Klang Valley, so we initiated a small side business.”

She added that they promoted their business named Xian Organic on social media and made deliveries every Monday and Tuesday after collecting the vegetables from the farmers in the highland.

“We used to have five or six orders for each of the delivery days shortly before the MCO was implemented, ” said Foong.

As soon as the MCO started, she said the demand rose from 150 to 180 orders for each delivery day.

“We were taken by surprise by the sudden increase in our business.

“Since there were only two of us, we had to hire four more people to help us manage the orders, ” said Foong.

Even after the strict MCO was relaxed, the cousins managed to retain more than 50 of their regular customers.

New customers were also starting to come in through their online platform.

Both Foong and Lim have also added more items to their list of products.

Besides organic vegetables, they are also offering organic raised poultry and fish caught in the wild.

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