Thursday, August 5, 2021

Restaurant bosses urge govt to allow dining in, longer opening hours

Primas also calls for other measures to help operators stay afloat including an automatic loan moratorium and rental relief assistance.

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A restaurant owners association today urged the government to put in place measures to help operators stay afloat during the lockdown period, including relaxing constraints on dining in and providing an automatic loan moratorium for a minimum of six months.

The Malaysian Indian Restaurants Association (Primas) said the restaurant industry had been hard hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

In a statement, it asked the government to allow an extension of opening hours from 6am to 10pm instead of the current 8am to 8pm.

It added that customers should be able to dine in, with a maximum of two people per table.

Saying the automatic moratorium on bank loans should be given without any impact on credit score, it said the government should also give rental relief assistance in the form of a grant and provide a 25% levy discount on work permits for foreign employees.

“We need not explain further about the overhead costs and commitments of restaurant operators,” Primas president J Suresh said.

“If the lockdown continues for a longer period of time, more than 50% of the operators will be closing down their businesses.”

He also cited a survey involving 1,000 restaurant operators which he said showed that 80% would only be able to continue operating for two months with their savings and current resources.

“Only 20% of them managed to get financial assistance from SME Corp Malaysia, banks and other financial schemes,” he added.

He said only 25% were given rental discounts by their landlords while 80% had struggled to pay for the cost of utilities accumulated since the first movement control order declared in March last year.

“70% of them are not able to pay their staff salaries on time and 80% feel it is unfair to allow unlicensed food vendors to operate all over the country, especially in front of licensed F&B operators,” he added.

“The government has to look into ways and means to support the services industry in every little way possible.”

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