Last Thursday, 26 March, Negeri Sembilan became the first state to cancel Ramadan bazaars
Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun said the decision was made to prevent people from gathering in an open space and be exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
However, he didn't rule out the possibility of traders using delivery services or operating from their homes.
"Traders should be more creative. We don't allow them to do business in the open air because we refuse to take risks. I hope everyone can be patient for now, and the state government will work hard to help ease the public's burden," said Aminuddin, according to Sinar Harian.
On Sunday, 29 March, Terengganu followed suit by banning all Ramadan bazaars in the state
In light of the government’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, Local Government, Housing, Health and Environment Committee chairman Dr Alias Razak said all Ramadan bazaars will not be organised in Terengganu this year.
"The risk of close contacts is extremely high and will likely cause further spread of COVID-19, thus impeding the government’s control efforts," said Dr Alias Razak, according to Bernama.
However, in an effort to satisfy our tastebuds and keep the local economy going, the Terengganu state government announced that they will be launching online Ramadan bazaars
According to Malay Mail, state Entrepreneurship, Human Resources, Micro Industry, and Hawker Affairs Committee chairman Mohd Nurkhuzaini Abd Rahman said the online platform would be monitored by the state's Yayasan Pembangunan Usahawan (YPU).
According to him, the online platform will have the following:
- All transactions made would be using e-wallets
- There would be no limit to the number of online bazaars stalls opening
- Terengganu entrepreneurs can register on the platform starting second week of April
While Ramadan bazaars across Malaysia are due to begin operations on 24 April, most states are still deciding what to do
In Penang, local authorities are waiting for the National Security Council's (NSC) advice before issuing licences for Ramadan bazaars in the state, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, as reported by Malay Mail.
For Melaka, Chief Minister Datuk Sulaiman Md Ali said that discussions are also ongoing between related parties to decide the best course of action moving forward regarding Ramadan bazaars, according to Harian Metro.
Meanwhile, The Borneo Post reported that the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) is deliberating whether to cancel its annual MBKS Ramadan Bazaar at Stutong Community Market, which saw a total of 139 vendors last year.
In Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, local governments have yet to make a decision on the fate of Ramadan bazaars
According to the Malaysian Association of Malay Hawkers and Small Businessmen, which represents around 35,000 Ramadan bazaar traders across the country, many vendors have already forked out tens of thousands of ringgit ahead of the fasting month.
The group's secretary-general, Mohamed Zamri Mohammed told Free Malaysia Today that the loss of potential income would be huge for bazaar vendors. He said that even the smallest food vendor could gain a profit of RM5,000 during Ramadan, while bigger vendors could earn enough to sustain themselves throughout the year.
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