Rushing to get everything stitched in time

Orders pouring in: Roslan has to be selective when it comes to accepting new requests as Hari Raya draws near.

JOHOR BARU: Exactly a year ago, the Malaysia-Singapore land border was reopened after having been closed for two years when Malaysia implemented its first movement control order on March 18, 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it severe economic disruption, including for tailors here who depend on orders from Singaporeans in the run-up to Hari Raya.

Thankfully, things are looking good now, with tailors enjoying brisk business.

Jamil Sukaimi, 57, said he has received orders for some 3,000 sets of clothing for this Hari Raya, an increase from only about 1,000 last year.

“As soon as the border reopened, my Singaporean customers started making orders for this year’s Hari Raya.

“Although the border was already open before Hari Raya last year, it was too close to the festival and we could not take any more orders. So now, they are going all out to get the clothes they have been waiting to wear,” he said.

Jamil, who specialises in making baju Melayu teluk belanga, said he stopped taking orders since December 2022.

“It can take up to three days to make an outfit. The intricate piece on the collar of a baju Melayu teluk belanga needs to be hand-stitched, and we do not compromise on the quality of the stitching.

“As such, we need more time to complete the orders.

“However, we do have some ready-to-wear equivalents in our shop,” he said, adding that he has also sold about 500 pieces of these outfits so far.

Roslan Harun, 44, also said he has received significantly more orders this year.

“Most of our customers are Singaporeans, and the reopening of the border played a very important role in boosting our business.

“I have been receiving orders for Hari Raya from about three months ago, and am still receiving more requests.

“As it is less than a month to Hari Raya, I need to be selective in taking in new orders as I am worried we would be unable to fulfil them,” he said.

However, he said demand in pre-pandemic days was still better compared with now.

“This year, I have received about 3,000 orders, and it is definitely so much better than the past three years.

“However, it still has not been as good as pre-pandemic times, when I could get about 5,000 orders,” he said.

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