By Foo Ming Li
Recent announcement of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) from the government had settled worries among the Penang food hawkers whose business had already been impacted by the pandemic since March earlier this year.
On November 7, Malaysia’s Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the reinstatement of CMCO with a duration of four weeks affecting all the states in Peninsular Malaysia except Perlis, Pahang, and Kelantan which starts on November 9 to December 6.
Frederick Lee, an economy rice seller who sells nyonya dishes along with his wife in Pulau Pinang Coffee Shop said they suffered a loss of about 10 to 15 percent of their business income since the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO).
He explains that the strict Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) during the MCO from the government stated people are only allowed to take-away their food. Lack of manpower in his shop also discouraged him from resorting to house-to-house food services.
Lee said he is not worried about his business not making enough income because there are regular customers supporting his business throughout the pandemic.
“Food is an essential necessity for everyone to survive. I am thankful for my regular customers who buy my food whether they are taking-away during the MCO or dining in the coffee shop after the MCO had been lifted,” he said.
On the other hand, Tan Siew Aie, a fish ball soup noodle vendor at Taman Free School Food Court had a 50 percent loss in her business. Compared to the 100 bowls of noodles she used to sell prior to the MCO, only 50 bowls of noodles are sold nowadays with the implementation of MCO and thereafter.
Apart from that, she said her business progressed when the MCO was lifted in July with many people coming to eat at the food court. However, it became worse again when people stayed at home since the CMCO started on November 9.
“On the first day of CMCO, the food court is quiet because office employees are mostly working from home which not only affected my business but everyone’s business in the food court,” she said.
Tan hopes the CMCO and pandemic can end soon for her business to resume as usual. She also hopes for the best for herself to keep selling the fish ball soup noodle during the pandemic to feed herself and her family.