By Foo Ming Li
The dawn of 2021 is around the corner and in the blink of an eye, Malaysians will celebrate Chinese New Year which falls on 12 February. Nevertheless, the uncertainty of Covid-19 pandemic with the increasing number of cases has caused restlessness among the public as they might have to be mentally prepared for business meltdown as well as an isolated celebration.
The third generation owner of Sin Tong Hin Trading, Loo Soon Chee expressed that there is a 50 percent reduction in the Chinese New Year decorative items he ordered from the manufacturers as he is worried that many of his customers in Penang may be cautious with their expenditure during the pandemic.
“Local Penang customers aside, approximately 20 to 30 percent of customers are from Thailand, Singapore, and other states of Malaysia. They could not buy the decorative items from my shop due to the movement control order,” he said.
Because of limited materials, the manufacturers have been taking orders from shops around the country since mid-October instead of mid-November.
On the other hand, Soon Kuan Enterprise owner, Ooi Siew Kuan said she has not placed her order from her supplier yet as she is aware that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) may be imposed in Penang again.
“Although the government has lifted the CMCO in Penang starting from December 6, the rise of Covid-19 cases in certain mukims creates anxiety towards the pandemic situation in Penang,” she said.
Even if she has to place her orders, Ooi said she has to decrease her orders by 30 percent compared to last year because of the price hike in the decorative items. It may further affect her business if the stocks are not sold due to CMCO.
“I have learnt from the experience of not ordering items in excessive quantity from the Qingming Festival in March 2020 which was also the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO). It caused me not to be able to finish selling the prayer items,” she added.