Eatery owner can now operate without Miti letter during lockdown


GEORGE TOWN: Coffee shop owner Cheow Sow Lei is now all smiles after learning that she does not need any letters from the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) to continue running her business during the lockdown.

The 54-year-old had tried 10 times to get the approval letter without success through the ministry’s Covid-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS) 3.0.

“I received news from Miti that I don’t need any letters to operate during this period. I am so relieved.

“I tried about 10 times to get the letter since May 31 but the website was down.

“But I took the risk and continued with the business or else I will have no income at all if the shop is closed, ” she said.

Cheow, who has been running her outlet for more than 30 years, said only three out of her five tenants were currently operating.

“Due to the bad times, I have been operating at a loss. Times are hard and I need to make at least RM200 to cover my cost daily, ” she said.

Another happy man was a chicken rice seller who wished to be known only as Choo, 25.

“Earlier, I was in two minds whether to take the risk to open my stall or not without the necessary approval letter.

“I can now operate with peace of mind but business is slow because of the enhanced movement control order imposed in Bayan Lepas, which is quite near my shop, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Foochow Coffee Shop Owners Association vice-president Toon Koon Ku said 10% of his members had decided not to open for business.

“Many of them decided to take a break until the lockdown is over as business is bad during this period. Furthermore, they are afraid of being infected, ” he said.

Koo Soo Kwong Choon Tong Restaurant and Teahouse Association chairman Vinah Yee said many restaurants and teahouses also decided to cease operations as they were operating at a loss.

“We are only allowed to provide takeaway services and business is less than 10% (of the usual takings).

“Even though we are not open, we still have to pay our water and electricity bills, ” she said.

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