Business owners seek aid to restart after being hit by pandemic

Tough going: Phong says the rising cost of raw materials must be addressed.

BALIK PULAU: After seeing his family business affected by the pandemic for more than year, vegetarian cafe owner Phong Wei Heng hopes that the government will provide more aid or subsidies for the local food industry.

“The rising cost of raw materials needs to be addressed in order to revive the food industry.

“Raw ingredients such as cooking oil have seen much increase in price, from about RM20 to about RM30 now for a 5kg bottle.

“It is a burden, especially for people like us who are reopening our business during the National Recovery Plan.

“Minus my staff salary, I’m actually left with hardly any profit.

“This is the first vegetarian outlet here to serve the community,” said Phong, 34, who took over the 20-year-old family business recently.

Echoing Phong’s sentiment was drinks seller Stella Khoo, who prefers a one-off payout from the government to help sustain her business.

“My monthly rental comes up to about RM3,000, including utility bills.

“Several food hawkers at my place are struggling to make ends meet as they have just restarted their businesses,” she said.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz had earlier said the upcoming Budget 2022, which will be tabled tomorrow, would focus on speeding up recovery, strengthening economic resilience, and catalysing reform.

Mechanic Muhammad Hafiz Suiad said he hoped the government would allocate funds to promote and develop the motorsports industry.

The 38-year-old, who specialises in modifying and tuning performance bikes, said there was no proper racetrack in Penang despite the availability of many local talents here.

“The industry has been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With the reopening of state borders, economic and social activities, I’m seeing a return of customers,” he said.

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