Monday, 30 Nov 2020
GENERAL
22/11/2020 01:10 PM

By Noornasrin Salsabila Othman

PASIR MAS, Nov 22 -- The town of Rantau Panjang here whose Duty Free Zone is a magnet for shoppers especially tourists to Kelantan has turned into a "cowboy town": following the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) to contain spread of COVID-19 in the state since Saturday.

Checks by Bernama today found almost half of the traders there have decided to "close shop" temporarily because of a lack of patrons, and besides, many of the premises or stalls are being used as stores to keep goods.

Even though the government is allowing economic activities to continue during the CMCO period, the public is shying away, causing the traders to lament loss of income up to three-fold down but they are accepting the situation as necessary because of the dangers of COVID-19.

A  stall owner who sells snacks, Asmawi Iberahim @ Mohd, 39, who has been operating his business there since 20 years ago, said it had been like this ever since the Movement Control Order (lockdown) was imposed in the country in March but business took a nosedive after the CMCO came into force.

“The situation now is very dire for the traders here, to even get around five customers is so difficult. It has badly affected my income, before my sales can reach to over RM200 a day but now it is just around RM50 to RM80 only,” he said.

Another trader Azura Abdul Ghani, 24, who sells peanuts and other nuts, said she was also suffering the same fate and that now one could count the number of customers with just the fingers.

“The situation now makes it very difficult for us traders to sustain ourselves but just have to go with the flow even though daily sales can fetch up to only RM50 compared to before where weekend sales can reach RM400," she said.

Enforcement personnel like police and RELA members were a common sight, making frequent patrols to ensure CMCO standard operating procedures (SOPs) were being complied with.

The two-week CMCO is scheduled to end on Dec 6.

-- BERNAMA

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