Seven to eight percent Indian Muslim business owners folded their business during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) enforced to contain the spread of COVID-19.

This according to Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Jawahar Ali Taib Khan.

"They have to let go of their staff and some have to close down, as they can no longer sustain their businesses.

"At the moment, these are the numbers we are seeing. So I hope that the extended operation will at least help them to pick up their businesses," he told New Straits Times (NST).

Jawahar was commenting on the government's decision to allow restaurants and convenience stores to operate until 2am.

In making the announcement yesterday, Senior Minister (security cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision was taken after business operators, especially in tourist areas like Langkawi, bemoaned the lack of income, as currently under the RMCO, businesses are only allowed to operate until midnight.

"Entertainment is still not allowed, so all that tourists can do is eat. Restaurant owners have asked for an extension of operation hours.

"MKN (National Security Council) has agreed to allow food outlets and convenience stores to open until 2am," he reportedly told a press briefing yesterday, according to The Star.

Jawahar lauded the government's move on the extension, saying it would help businesses to recover, financially.

"We didn't ask to stay open for 24 hours. So to be allowed to push our closing time from midnight to 2am is already good enough," he told NST.

He added that the eateries, while adhering to the operating hours extension, will still abide by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are in place.

The COVID-19 outbreak in the country refuses to die down, with new clusters, and sporadic high number of cases continue to be recorded.

As of yesterday, there have been 9,628 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 128 deaths.

The global infection and death tally from the coronavirus have passed 28.3 million and 913,000, respectively.


Source: NST, The Star
Photo source: Astro Awani