Ramadan bazaar ban a big blow on food trucks

The Selangor government says Ramadan bazaars will not be allowed because of the Covid-19 threat.

PETALING JAYA: A representative of food truck operators in Selangor is due to meet representatives of the state government with a proposal for a modified service in Ramadan.

Selangor Foodtruck Club president Abdul Rahman Supari told FMT he would propose that 20 to 30 food trucks be allowed to operate at a time but catering to online orders only, with riders delivering the food to customers.

He said the cancellation of Ramadan bazaars was a huge blow to food truck operators because the fasting month is a time of roaring business. “One can earn RM8,000 to RM10,000 in profits just in that one month.”

He said at least two in three food truck owners would usually ditch their standard operating hours and locations to sell at the bazaars.

Rahman said he would present his proposal at the next meeting of the Selangor consultative council for hawkers and small businesses, of which he is a member.

Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari has announced that Ramadan bazaars would not be allowed because of the Covid-19 threat.

However, he said the ban could be lifted subject to the health ministry’s approval. He also spoke of the possibility of an online bazaar partnering with delivery services.

The fasting month will begin less than two weeks after the movement control order (MCO) is lifted.

Food trucks are not allowed to operate during the MCO period. This has caused Rahman and many of his colleagues to turn to their savings for daily necessities.

Thankfully, he said, there was financial assistance through the government’s Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package and zakat aid in Selangor.

He said food truck operators were dreading the possibility of an extension of the MCO, adding that the situation would be burdensome even with aid from the government because small businessmen like him had only enough savings to last for one or two weeks.

He also said many food truck owners were not eligible for state aid because they were not registered with their local councils (PBT).

He estimated that only 50 of the 300-odd food truck operators in the state were registered with the councils.

“Food trucks don’t just stay in one area,” he said. “They move from place to place. When they go to events, they pay the organisers and the organisers will get the permit from the local authorities.

“So they don’t really need the PBT licence.”