Mukah small traders are smiling again

Some of the traditional kuih that Azrina sells.

MUKAH: The decision of the Dalat and Mukah District Council (MDDM) decision to allow all stalls and shops under its supervision to reopen today was a great relief to many small traders at the Bangunan Serbaguna MDDM.

Following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) last year, most traders at the premises admitted that their incomes were severely affected as they had to close their operations many times on the instructions of local authorities or the government.

Traditional kuih trader Azrina Jopri was happy to be back in business at Bangunan Serbaguna MDDM after almost a month’s break. 

The 40-year-old said she suffered many losses following the re-implementation of the MCO which had caused many of her cakes to be damaged and could not be sold.

“I depend entirely on the proceeds from the sale of these kuih as my main source of income. I will suffer losses if the cakes are damaged.

“The MCO has been a huge blow to small traders like me. The number of customers coming to our premises at Bangunan Serbaguna MDDM is also down.

“With limited operating hours (6am to 2pm), most of us who trade here are indeed incurring a lot of losses.

“My income has dropped dramatically — sometimes I only earn RM5 to RM10 a day and even sadder, there are also days when there is no income at all,” she revealed.

“I am lying if I say don’t feel angry or upset when business operations are ordered to close. However, I realise it is also for the safety of the people.

“So, the reopening of this business operation was a great relief to me even though I had to find capital to buy new kuih as everything was ordered from someone else.

“I sincerely hope we will not be ordered to close again in the future,” said Azrina.

Ismawi Seruji

Meanwhile, 60-year-old Ismawi Seruji, who also suffered losses after his business operations were ordered to close, hoped that the terms and conditions for the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) application for small traders would be relaxed.

Since the MCO last year, he said he had not yet received any assistance although he had applied many times.

“Until today, I still have not received any reply. I have also appealed but there is no answer,” he stressed.

In the meantime, Ismawi, who makes money only from the selling keropok lekor and traditional kuih, is very grateful that MDDM has allowed small traders to operate again.