Craft artisans, homestay operators quit industry

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 150 of the 6,220 craft entrepreneurs who had registered with Kraftangan Malaysia were reported to have left the industry as at Aug 31, the Dewan Negara was told.

Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Santhara Kumar said these craft entrepreneurs left due to several factors, including age, health, opportunities in other fields, and challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On homestay operators, he said, there were 3,060 operators registered for the Malaysian Homestay Experience Programme.

They, too, suffered badly due to the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic that hit the country since last year ushered in changes with the implementation of the movement control order nationwide.

“It impacted all levels of the society, including craft entrepreneurs and homestay operators,” he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Negara yesterday.

He was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Isa Ab Hamid, who wanted to know the number of handicraft entrepreneurs and home stay operators affected by the MCO, and also on assistance provided by the ministry.

Santhara Kumar told the house that the earnings from homestay activities was secondary income to the operators as most of them were settlers, farmers or fishermen.

On the assistance provided by the ministry, he said, they were in non-financial forms such as the Skills and Skills Upgrading Programme and the Craft Community Skills Development Programme, as well as providing a one-off financial assistance involving RM1.836mil under the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (Pemerkasa). — Bernama

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