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.
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.
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.
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.