A group of 21 opposition and independent members of parliament have urged the government to extend operating hours for food and beverage (F&B) businesses under Movement Control Order (MCO).
In a joint statement today, they said the government should review the current standard operating procedures (SOP) to allow F&B businesses to operate beyond 8pm.
They said the limited operating hours for F&B outlets made it difficult for those who need to buy food after working hours.
The current MCO guidelines only allow eateries to provide takeaway orders, home delivery and drive-through methods from 8am to 8pm.
“We urge the Perikatan Nasional government to allow all food and beverage outlets to operate as stated in their business license and not be limited to 8pm (closing time), considering that dining in is prohibited.
“Allowing traders to operate according to their business licence will help revive their economy, generate income for food delivery riders and encourage people to stay at home as they can place orders from home without being limited to 8pm.
“We urge the National Security Council (NSC) to immediately improve this SOP as it affects traders who can only depend on their daily wages for a living,” said the statement.
The MPs also urged the government to extend the moratorium for loan repayments for at least for another six months.
“Traders will likely be even more badly affected now as compared to the first phase of the MCO because they are forced to bear the payment of rent and workers’ salaries without the previous moratorium,” it said.
On Jan 13, The Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) appealed to the government to extend the operating hours of restaurants during the MCO to 10pm from the current 8pm.
Presma said this was needed because there are still many orders for packed food even after 8pm.
On Jan 15, the New Straits Times interviewed food traders and restaurant operators who said that extending their business hours until 10pm under MCO 2.0 would be ideal.
They said lunchtime orders were nowhere near enough to cover a whole day’s worth of expenses, and eateries were now deprived of business from a segment of the after-work crowd if the 8pm cut-off time continued.
They also said that since there were no dine-in patrons allowed, eateries should be given the extra operational hours to get as much business as possible from takeaway and delivery orders.
The 21 MPs who signed the statement today were:
- Datuk Darell Leiking (Penampang)
- Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar)
- Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman (Sepanggar)
- Hannah Yeoh (Segambut)
- Yeo Bee Yin (Bakri)
- Baru Bian (Selangau)
- Sivarasa Rasiah (Sungai Buloh)
- Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (Pulai)
- Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah (Kubang Pasu)
- Teo Nie Ching (Kulai)
- Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis (Kota Belud)
- Datuk Mahfuz Omar (Pokok Sena)
- Khalid Samad (Shah Alam)
- Dr Maszlee Malik (Simpang Renggam)
- Maria Chin Abdullah (Petaling Jaya)
- Wong Shu Qi (Kluang)
- Teresa Kok (Seputeh)
- Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor)
- Dr Lee Boon Chye (Gopeng)
- Kasthuriraani Patto (Batu Kawan)
- Nor Azrina Surip @ Nurin Aina (Merbok) – NST