Single mum, petty trader hard hit by MCO 3.0

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By Veena Babulal – June 21, 2021 @ 9:30am

 -NSTP file pic
-NSTP file pic

It’s hard for single mothers to get a break, and for sole breadwinner Halimatul Saadiah Abd Hamid, 37, the Movement Control Order (MCO) in force from last year and its various stages have been punishing.

The preschool teacher, who has two special needs children, moonlights as a part-time writer, fitness coach and makes overnight oats, yet can barely break even.

“I bring home around RM2,300 from my day job. And if I am lucky, a few hundred more from the other things I do.

“Most of it goes to my kids’ coaching, lessons and therapy both online and face to face,” she said, adding that one of her children was dyslexic and the other had attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

She is expecting the extension of this MCO 3.0 to be especially hard for other single mothers and preschool teachers, who since last year have had to contend with salary cuts, longer hours and the fear of not being paid or terminated despite the assistance from the government.

“The government has to be more targeted in its aid. It needs to give parents, especially those in situations similar as mine, allowances based on their children’s needs.

“If they are school-going and young, or teenagers, or need special education, all these should be calculated. The aid should also be staggered over a period, throughout the lockdown and beyond.”

Halimatul Saadiah Abd Hamid.
Halimatul Saadiah Abd Hamid.

She also said the government needed to make free test kits available to frontliners, teaching staff and B40 families who are the backbone of Malaysia’s economy.

Self-employed Azkhalim Suradi, 49, urged the government to impose a moratorium on bank loan repayments immediately, as small-time traders like him needed a minimum moratorium of six months this time around.

“Without it, small traders like me cannot live. I can’t repay my house and car loans which come up to a few thousand ringgit.

“Most small traders and self-employed people like me have burnt through our savings within the 15 months of the pandemic.

“Some have had to take personal loans and use their property as collateral.”

He said he used to earn around RM2,000 from his food stall in Petaling Street when dining was allowed earlier this year, but even then he was in deficit.

“All I could do was pay a few bills with that cash.

“Now with a full lockdown, I doubt I can even keep my business afloat.”

Azkhalim Suradi.
Azkhalim Suradi.

Azkhalim said his business in April at the Hari Raya Aidilfitri bazaar and pasar malam in Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman and its back lane, respectively, was meant to be his buffer for a few months, but due to a drop in clientele and their early shutdown due to rising cases, he barely broke even.

He said if there was no moratorium, he would be in deep trouble.

“I will not be the only one. There are hundreds of others like me in KL alone.”


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