Event industry needs conducive SOPs to survive

The current SOPs need to be reviewed so that events can still be organised by their customers and clients

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

EVENT industry players, who have been hit hard since the introduction of the series of Movement Control Order (MCO) in March, are appealing to the government to formulate specific and more conducive standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the survival of their businesses.

Elipse30 Sdn Bhd ED Wan Afzanizam Wan Razali, along with other major event organisers who held a press conference in Petaling Jaya, Selangor yesterday, said the government needs to hear out all the predicaments that are faced by the players who have not had any business after the MCO started.

He said a centralised body under the National Security Council could be established with a cohesive set of SOPs that could be used by event companies for their business in all the states.

The current SOPs need to be reviewed so that events can still be organised by their customers and clients within a safe perimeter as stipulated by the government, he added.

“At the moment, everything is at a standstill as most of our events are either cancelled or postponed,” Wan Afzanizam said.

The press conference was also joined by professionals who are associated with artiste management, sound and light companies, wedding planners, disc jockeys, decoration companies, caterers, musicians and performers, videographers, canopy suppliers, multimedia companies, event venue owners and exhibition equipment companies.

Another player, U Ratnam, said most of the organisers and their ancillary contractors and suppliers are in the business full-time and they are now in dire need of government assistance to stay afloat.

“First of all, we cannot change to other industries because we invested so much and a lot of companies invested millions, so we cannot just dump our equipment.

“We need some assistance from the government, especially in extending the moratorium. So far, the moratorium has stopped but we don’t have any income to survive,” he said.

Ratnam said the companies need grants to sustain as well as tax relief to be implemented on them and the landlords — those who rent the space to event players.

“We know we are giving a hard time to our landlords with payments. So, give them a tax relief whereby they can reduce our rentals, so that our overhead would not be too burdensome,” he said.

Ratnam said currently, those who are registered under event management or related to events are categorised as “high-risked group” by banks, and the “label” has made it difficult for them to apply for loans that could ensure their survival.

“Let us move a bit, there’s a lot to the event industry. A lot of jobs are interconnected and interdependent with one another. When the whole supply chain breaks, it’s hard for everyone to survive,” he said.

Wan Afzanizam said most of the players who have reached out to banks have been turned down.

“Now, when we apply for bank loans, the banks would reject us so we have to go for credit loans.

“For the past six or eight months, our credit loans from big companies did not have any discount so we have to pay the full amount, that is also the problem that we are facing,” he added.

Suresh Naidu from Big Show Asia Sdn Bhd said it would be helpful if the government could loosen up the SOPs a bit to give some breathing space for companies within the industry to survive.

“Right now, we are following the SOPs, so there are no events including weddings or other cultural affairs, despite the fixed cost that we need to pay every month including our storage facilities that would range from RM7,000 to RM15,000.

“Then, we have to maintain our staff, a minimum of two to three. This is why we need the government’s help to stay afloat,” he said.

He said a lot of players are depressed and stressed due to the financial woes that they are facing with some even resorting to selling their event equipment such as sound generators at a lower price to settle their employees’ wages.

“At the same, we are all individual players who have been doing business for a long time, we don’t have an association to stand up for us or support us.

“We are planning to bring everyone in this industry together and create an association. Our industry is huge, but the government is not looking at us,” he added.