GEORGE TOWN: Even with one extra day for business, Ramadan bazaar traders who must close from today still faced slow sales as more Malaysians stayed home for fear of the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases.
A check at Taman Tun Sardon’s Ramadan bazaar yesterday found only a small crowd buying Ramadan delights, leaving traders disappointed by their sales before facing a three-day closure.
The government on Friday ordered 22 Ramadan bazaars nationwide to close for three days and out of this, the highest number – eight – are in Penang.
The closure was supposed to begin on Labour Day yesterday, but Penang’s city council allowed the traders one more day to sell and clear their perishables.
Homemade curry puff and dessert seller Suhaila Abdul Rahman, 45, said her family depended solely on her to generate income.
“I stocked up enough potatoes and onions to make curry puffs for a month. I have so much fresh coconut milk to make desserts.
“These are all going to be wasted.
“I guess I have no choice but to find a place to sell by the roadside for three days, ” she said glumly.
Kuih seller Yusni Ibrahim, 43, is upset that they were told to stop operating for three days “at the last minute”.
“My friends and I put our money together to rent the stall here.
“We have more than 20 different types of kuih, some of which are made by us and some are provided by our suppliers.
“Some suppliers are single mothers who have no choice but to bake at home to get extra money.
“I feel sad as they will not have any income for the next three days.
“Some of them told us they have bought the ingredients to make kuih for the next three days, ” she said.
On Friday, the Housing and Local Government Ministry ordered the 22 Ramadan bazaars to close following the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Ministry secretary-general Datuk Zainal Abidin Abu Hassan said the decision was made during the National Security Council special meeting on April 28.
“The ministry received a report from the Hotspot Identification by Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system that these bazaars pose a Covid-19 threat. This threat was identified through contact tracing analysis performed by the Health Ministry through the MySejahtera app, ” he said in a statement.
In a subsequent statement, the corporate communications unit of the ministry said the bazaars would be closed for three days for sanitation purposes and to streamline the standard operating procedure.
The unit said the HIDE system showed that 904 Covid-19 patients had visited these bazaars or had been infected by individuals who visited these bazaars as at April 15.