‘Let restaurants operate on a minimum scale’


PETALING JAYA: Restaurants and eateries facing a sharp drop in business are appealing to the government for help.They foresee the upcoming Father’s Day celebration to be a muted affair with eateries not allowed to have any dine-in customers during the lockdown.

Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants and Chefs Association honorary chairman Datuk Lum Tuck Loy said business had dropped drastically.

“Things are looking bleak for the food and beverage industry as people are staying at home. But our members will continue to offer takeaway menus for consumers to celebrate with their loved ones at home.

“We hope people will continue to support our businesses so that we can survive,” he said.

Lum, who runs several halal and non-halal Chinese restaurants in the Klang Valley, said most of their members would continue to open as they had placed orders for raw ingredients earlier.

“Most ingredients are perishable and cannot last long even if they are chilled or frozen. It is only right to prepare them for dishes when they are fresh,” he added.

As operators are still required to pay full rent and utility bills, Lum urged the government to do more to help them reduce their cash flow problems during this lockdown, which was extended for another two weeks until June 28.

“The government should consider giving more aid and rebates, such as a bigger cut in utility bills,” he added.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) president J. Suresh concurred, urging the government to look into ways to support the industry in every little way possible.

“If the lockdown continues, more operators will be forced to shut down. This can lead to bankruptcy.

“We appeal to the government to explore options to allow businesses to operate on a minimum scale with maximum surveillance on the SOP,” he said.

Based on a recent survey of around 1,000 restaurant operators, Suresh said 80% of them were only able to operate for two months or so with their own savings and resources.

“Only 25% of them are getting rental discounts from their landlords, while 80% are struggling to pay utility bills accumulated since the movement control order started in March last year,” he noted.

“As many as 70% of them were unable to pay their staff salaries on time while only 20% of them managed to get financial assistance from SME Corp Malaysia, banks and other financial schemes.”

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