Parts of KL still stuck in first gear on second day of CMCO

A general view of Jalan Masjid India during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Kuala Lumpur May 5, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A general view of Jalan Masjid India during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Kuala Lumpur May 5, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — On the second day of the conditional movement control order (MCO), parts of the nation’s capital have slowly come back to life even while others have not.

Foreign workers could be seen getting swabbed for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) screenings in Pudu’s market areas, while more shops were open for today on Jalan Masjid India despite poor customer turnout.

Nearly all of Chinatown’s street stalls remain shuttered, as the conditional Movement Control Order does not permit any business activities that can cause large crowds to gather on May 5, 2020. — Picture Hari Anggara
Nearly all of Chinatown’s street stalls remain shuttered, as the conditional Movement Control Order does not permit any business activities that can cause large crowds to gather on May 5, 2020. — Picture Hari Anggara

Brickfields itself was relatively packed while Kampung Baru was very quiet, with only a handful of shops open, mainly catering for takeaway food orders.

KL’s famed Chinatown street stalls along Jalan Petaling similarly remain shuttered, with only a few shops in buildings open for trade.

For the former, it is unsurprising. The conditional MCO specifically prohibits any business activity that attracts large crowds, a traditional feature of Chinatown’s stalls.

The handful of businesses in operation predominantly sold clothing items, and even fewer sold food and beverages.

Most declined to speak when approached, claiming they were only staff and could not do so without their employers’ permission. However, one young woman shared her experience.

“We opened yesterday, but had literally no one come in to buy anything,” said a 23-year old Indonesian national who only wanted to be known as Inawati.

Petaling Street wet market trader Christina Tan and her husband are pictured at their stall on the first day of the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur, May 4, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Petaling Street wet market trader Christina Tan and her husband are pictured at their stall on the first day of the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur, May 4, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Today was slightly better, she said, as two people entered the shop where she worked to purchase jeans, but Inawati was convinced the slow business will be around for some time.

“I am worried my boss will have to let some of us go if this continues. And finding a job elsewhere is going to be highly difficult,” she said.

A street food vendor is pictured at his stall on Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, May 4, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
A street food vendor is pictured at his stall on Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, May 4, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Another who agreed to speak to Malay Mail anonymously was the day-shift manager of an eatery. The middle-aged man, who only wanted to be known as Leong, said it decided to open for business even if customer turnout is poor.

“We had to close up like everyone else for over a month. Some of our other staff became so desperate for income, they sought jobs elsewhere.

“Even now we cannot bring everyone back to work as it would mean operating at a loss. I only had one person come in for takeaway, so I can only hope things lighten up within the next week or so,” he said.

Nearly all of Chinatown’s street stalls remain shuttered, as the conditional Movement Control Order does not permit any business activities that can cause large crowds to gather on May 5, 2020. — Picture Hari Anggara
Nearly all of Chinatown’s street stalls remain shuttered, as the conditional Movement Control Order does not permit any business activities that can cause large crowds to gather on May 5, 2020. — Picture Hari Anggara

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