To survive Covid-19 economy, travel agents in northern peninsula resort to selling cakes, washing plates

According to North Zone Tour Bus Operators Coalition chairman Ahmad Ruslan, more than 1,200 tour buses have been sold in the northern region this period following the latest four-week long movement restriction order in all but four states nationwide. — Picture by Hari Anggara
According to North Zone Tour Bus Operators Coalition chairman Ahmad Ruslan, more than 1,200 tour buses have been sold in the northern region this period following the latest four-week long movement restriction order in all but four states nationwide. — Picture by Hari Anggara

SEBERANG PERAI, Nov 11 — Tour bus drivers have been so badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic that many had to sell their buses and declare bankruptcy, the North Zone Tour Bus Operators Coalition chairman Ahmad Ruslan said today.

According to Ahmad, more than 1,200 tour buses have been sold in the northern region this period following the latest four-week long movement restriction order in all but four states nationwide.

“Some of the tour bus operators are now selling cakes, burgers and washing dishes in restaurants to survive,” he told reporters this morning after lodging police reports against five ministries at the Central Seberang Perai District Police Headquarters here.

Ahmad said the tour bus operators could not afford the monthly insurance payments for their buses.

“Many of them borrowed from credit companies and these companies do not provide a moratorium so some of them could not pay back and were declared bankrupt,” he said.

He said the tour operators had no alternative ways to earn a living.

“There is no allocation for tour bus operators in the Budget and the various ministries have not offered us any assistance,” he said.

He claimed his group has been trying to meet various ministries and government agencies since March seeking aid, to no avail.

He said the tourism industry is a large industry in the country and tour bus operators are part of the industry.

“We were also contributing to the national economy previously,” he said.

Ahmad lodged a police report this morning against five ministries, complaining that they had ignored the fate of tour bus operators affected by the pandemic.

The five ministries he named in his report are the: Transport Ministry, Finance Ministry, Tourism Ministry, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

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