Traders concerned as Penang Sentral almost deserted


THE Covid-19 pandemic that is still plaguing the world has been affecting all walks of life, especially small traders who are feeling the pinch the most due to the outbreak.

A check at the Penang Sentral in Butterworth, Penang, yesterday found that the majority of traders were concerned as they have hardly any customers of late.

One of them, Julaika Paulino, 19, who helps her sister selling snacks, said the lack of visitors is driven by fear as people now do not want to leave the house unnecessarily due to fear of the spread of the Covid-19 infection.

“There are not many visitors lately…maybe everyone is afraid to go out because of Covid-19. But for us traders, we still need to operate our shop as usual due to our financial commitments,” she told Bernama.

Julaika also said she had difficulty in finding a part-time job as not many employers are willing to hire workers while the country is facing the pandemic.

“Even now, if you want to apply for a part-time job, the employer does not want to hire an individual who is a student. So, I help my sister here for the time being,” said Julaika, a student at one of the private universities in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Azira Abdul Manaf, 27, a trader at the complex’s food court also expressed her concerns as she has to bear piling debts due to small profit.

“The business hardly breaks even. From more than 15 dishes previously, now we are down to only two.

“Our shop has to reduce production costs as we need to cover the existing debt. We open our shop daily, but there are no customers. This is very difficult for us,” she said.

Meanwhile, Siti Haslinda Kamal, 35, who sells clothes, said although the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order in the state is for the health and safety of the people, deep down she really hopes that the pandemic will end soon.

“In the past, it was very lively here with the presence of visitors and the public, but now the atmosphere is gloomy. In a day, we have only five customers or fewer,” she said.