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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Bumiputera businesses on brink of death, Putrajaya told

 

Bumiputera businesses are finding it hard to survive the lockdown, says a retail association.

PETALING JAYA: A retail association has warned that Bumiputera businesses are “on the brink of death” because of a lack of government assistance to help them survive the current lockdown.

All businesses are struggling, according to Bumiputera Retailers Organisation (BRO) president Ameer Ali Mydin.

“If one Chinese business dies,” he told FMT, “it’s likely that 10 Malay businesses will die.

“The reality is that the Chinese business community is very adept at business. Many have been in business for a long time and built up reserves. So, if one dies, it’s a bad omen for us.”

He said it was not “looking good” that Covid-19 cases remained high while fewer people were being tested for infection.

“We’ve read how there is an increase in sporadic cases. At this rate, it is hard to see how restrictions can be relaxed. Even if you are in the essential sector and are allowed to open, you will still be struggling because there is a massive drop in customers.”

Ameer Ali Mydin.

At the same time, he said, it did not help that businesses were not getting automatic loan moratoriums.

“The government says, ‘Apply for a moratorium if you are affected and the banks will give automatic approval.’ But in reality, it’s simply not happening.”

Ameer said many of BRO’s 52 members, employing 30,000 people, had had trouble obtaining moratoriums and assistance. Banks were not approving applications automatically, he said.

“Our members tell us that the banks are asking for details of their cash flow, accounts and revenue projections. What are they expecting to see? We’re bleeding, on the brink of death and there’s no end to the lockdown in sight,” he said.

The lockdown came into effect on June 1 and has been extended to June 28. Ameer does not expect it to end as planned.

“We estimate that if the total lockdown is continued for another month, at least 500,000 people in the retail sector alone will lose their jobs,” he said.

He urged the government to lift restrictions on sectors where Covid-19 cases were few.

“The factories where many cases are being detected remain open. Why not allow retailers, who accounted for only 0.8% of clusters in May before the lockdown, to operate fully?

“We hope such decisions can be made based on the relevant scientific evidence and data.” - FMT

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