Monsoon season dampening spirits of stall operators


Gloomy outlook: Md Izam and Syed Mohd Ghazafi are facing difficulties conducting business.

JOHOR BARU: Business is gloomy for stall operators who are struggling to operate as the overcast sky during the northeast monsoon season is discouraging customers.

Besides losing customers due to the rain, fewer people are choosing to shop outdoors while some operators face losses when their goods get wet and their equipment damaged.

Siti Fatimah Sarudin, a 34-year-old jackfruit fritter seller, incurred significant financial losses when several baskets of her fruit were drenched in the rain.

“I was operating the stall with my husband at that time and we were unable to immediately get the fruits out of the rain,” she said.

“Each basket of fruit weighs about 70kg and is worth about RM500. Our total losses amounted to about RM5,000,” she said.

Siti Fatimah, who runs a stall in Taman Mole, as well as at various night and farmers’ markets around Johor Baru, is also getting fewer customers.

“We face this every time the monsoon season comes. I hope that the government will consider giving special assistance to traders facing such problems.

“Thankfully, the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) gave me a little leeway as they did not collect token fees from traders at the farmers’ market during rainy days.

“However, we still have to pay the fees at the night markets,” she said.

Another trader, Md Izam Ibrahim, 43, who runs a stall selling drinks in Taman Scientex in Pasir Gudang, has had his canopy damaged several times in the past due to strong winds.

“Thankfully, it did not happen to me this time. However, at least two other traders operating in Taman Scientex suffered a similar fate in the past few weeks.

“The cost of purchasing a canopy ranges between RM150 and RM220, and there have been instances where traders had to replace them several times within a few weeks.

“We are also getting between 40% and 50% fewer customers, depending on the frequency of rainy days in a week. If it rains a few days in a row, which has happened a couple of times since last month, we hardly get any customers,” he said.

Sometimes, traders opt to pack up and conclude their day earlier, said Md Izam.

“For those selling food, drinks and other perishable goods, we have no choice but to throw them away because they cannot be kept.

“It will be great if the state government can assist us in one way or another, but I am not too hopeful,” he said.

Syed Mohd Ghazafi Syed Abu Bakar, 51, who organises the night markets in Taman Setia Tropika, Taman Dahlia Tampoi and Taman Seri Bahagia, said he would not collect token fees from traders on certain rainy days.

“It depends on how long the rain continues and the crowd that day.

“If the rain falls for hours and traders cannot sell their goods or close early, I will not collect fees.

“This is my way of helping affected traders. However, they must clean up their stalls before leaving as the fees that should have been collected are used for cleaning services,” he said.

According to the Meteorological Department, the northeast monsoon is expected to see heavy rainfall from Nov 11 to March next year, especially in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor and west Sarawak.

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