Traders eager to make up for lost time

Visible reminder: A sign urging all to follow the SOP is on display at a Ramadan bazaar in Precinct 3, Putrajaya. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Ramadan bazaar traders are eager to make up for lost time after their businesses came to a standstill last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Penang Muslim League deputy president Datuk Shahul Hameed Syed Mohamed said they were hopeful that they could make some profits this holy month.

“They have been advised to adhere to the strict standard operating procedure to contain the spread of the virus. They are happy to comply, ” he added.

Shahul Hameed said signages would be put up in front of each stall at the Lebuh Queen bazaar to help visitors locate the food or drinks they wanted.

“This will cut the duration they spend at the market, ” he said.

Shahul Hameed, who is also a Penang Island City councillor, said the number of stalls had been limited to 24 this year.

“Physical distancing, wearing of face masks, use of hand sanitisers and registering via MySejahtera are a must.”

In Kuala Lumpur, fried banana and cheese trader Elliez Haimi would be running two stalls – one at the Ramadan bazaar at Taman Ehsan and another at Jalan Prima 2. Both are located in Kepong.

“After the disruption on our livelihoods due to the movement control order, I hope to be able to get back on my feet again, ” said the mother of five.

“I don’t want to rely on government handouts all the time, ” she added.

Pertubuhan Ikatan Usahawan Kecil dan Sederhana Malaysia chairman Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah said some Ikhlas members were worried that the permission to operate Ramadan bazaars could be revoked midway should there be a sudden spike in Covid-19 cases.

“We hope that the organisers have made contingencies for refund procedures should this happen, ” said Mohd Ridzuan.

In Melaka, traders at the largest Ramadan bazaar in Pantai Klebang were equally glad.

In a message to The Star, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali said the Ramadan bazaars could go on as long as the SOP was observed.

“The traders, too, need to earn money, ” he said.

Entrepreneur Yusrina Mohd Yusof said the holy month was when small traders could see profits.

The 29-year-old has taken up three stalls selling baju Raya.

In Johor Baru, Fauziah Abu Samah, 61, who has been selling sup tulang merah since 2008, said she was excited to return to the Perling Mall bazaar this Ramadan.

“Participating in the Ramadan bazaar is an annual affair for my family and I, ” she said.

“Last year, we could only sell our dishes through food delivery and takeaways. Business dropped by at least 80%.”

Johor Gemilang Petty Traders Association corporate officer Che Wan Farid Che Wan Abd Rahman said the association was organising Ramadan bazaars at Taman Dahlia and Jalan Bandar Pasir Gudang.

“The two locations will involve about 200 traders. We hope that our initiative will help boost the traders’ income, seeing that they have been struggling since last year.

“I hope the traders and customers will follow the SOP.”

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