Don’t forget traders in Budget 2022 as economic fallout from Covid-19 isn’t over yet, says association rep

Malaysia Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations president Datuk Yow Boon Choon (centre) during a walkabout at the Johor Jaya morning market near Johor Baru October 12, 2021. — Picture by Ben Tan
Malaysia Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations president Datuk Yow Boon Choon (centre) during a walkabout at the Johor Jaya morning market near Johor Baru October 12, 2021. — Picture by Ben Tan

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JOHOR BARU, Oct 12 — Despite traders being allowed to operate in morning and night markets nationwide now, many hope that the government will offer some assistance to them under Budget 2022, which is expected to be tabled this month, said Malaysia Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations president Datuk Yow Boon Choon.

“As traders were not allowed to operate their businesses during the movement control order (MCO) period, many of them faced financial difficulties, with some even closing down.

“Traders still have to pay their monthly housing and car commitments, and this is in addition to other financial obligations despite a majority not having any proper income throughout the MCO period.

“We thank the government for introducing the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP), but we are still hoping that the one-off financial assistance will continue for traders until the economy improves,” said Yow to reporters after a walkabout at Johor Jaya morning market here today.

The Johor Jaya morning market is considered one of the biggest markets in Johor Baru and many traders in the area were badly hit by the numerous lockdowns.

Yow said the association also hopes that the government will re-introduce moratorium assistance for small traders under Budget 2022.

He added that it would take some time for traders to make up for previous losses under the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

“Throughout the MCO period, a majority of traders nationwide were not allowed to operate due to Covid-19 pandemic,” he said, pointing out that only traders operating food businesses were allowed to do so using a temporary licence issued by the local councils.

Yow said he thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for assisting traders by allowing morning and night markets to reopen throughout the country.

“However, even with the morning and night markets, traders are still not expecting large crowds like before,” he said.

For South Johor, Yow said most of the 30,000 licensed traders are under Johor Baru City Council (MBJB), Iskandar Puteri City Council (MBIP), Pasir Gudang City Council (MBPG) and Kulai Municipal Council (MPKu).

Yow, who is also the South Johor Hawkers and Petty Traders Association president, said night markets under the association would be open from October 15 at nine locations under MBJB’s jurisdiction.

“We will make sure that all traders and visitors coming to the markets will abide by the standard operating procedures (SOP) imposed by the National Security Council (NSC) and local councils.

“This will include only allowing those who are fully vaccinated to enter the markets and adhering to social distancing,” he said.

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