Muhyiddin to focus on small traders for recovery

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KUALA LUMPUR: Measures to help small traders will be among matters to be raised and discussed by the National Recovery Council at its next meeting soon, the council’s new chairman, Muhyiddin Yassin, said yesterday.

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He said all matters pertaining to the nation’s recovery, taking the ‘whole of society’ and ‘whole of government’ approach, will be discussed.

“The first meeting that I will be chairing, maybe in the week ahead… we want to work together to speed up the nation’s recovery process,” he said. “I will ensure small traders and sectors will continue to be aided and included in the government’s plans to bring the country out of the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Muhyiddin said appropriate measures would be taken in the next year or two so that the country would undergo economic and social recovery back to pre-pandemic levels.

He said the Federal Territories Ministry’s Free Trading Area programme should be extended beyond the end of the year to help ease the burden of traders affected by Covid-19.

Traders are telling me to inform the FT Minister to consider extending the permit period or to award them permanent trading licences.

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He said the recovery council’s focus was “not just on major companies but also the small and informal sectors… although the government has provided aid, it will not cover their daily expenses if they are unable to trade.”

Muhyiddin, who was on a visit to Taman Tasik Sri Rampai in Setapak Jaya here, said more traders have resumed operations, which he described as a clear and positive sign that the process towards economic recovery has begun.

“I was very happy to hear from them (traders) that they were now back to earning RM200 to RM300 a day, some of them RM3,000 to RM4,000 a month, and without being charged anything to trade as well,” he said.

“The measures adopted in the Federal Territories have been effective in helping small traders get back on their feet and earn their livelihood.. when times are hard, we should not be charging them anything and it is all right if the government loses a little,” he said.

The Free Trading Area programme was introduced on Nov 15 last year to enable the public in the three Federal Territories to open stalls or trade in suitable areas free of charge.-BERNAMA