Association calls for moratorium, tax relief, cash aid as food and beverage businesses struggle to stay afloat during MCO 3.0

·2-min read
A pedestrian is seen walking by at Pavilion Boulevard during lunch hour, February 22, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
A pedestrian is seen walking by at Pavilion Boulevard during lunch hour, February 22, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — The Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association (PPRB) has urged the government to provide aid to businesses in the food and beverage industry to prevent them from going under during the third movement control order (MCO).

In a statement today, the association urged the government to implement three measures that it said were necessary, as restaurants and similar businesses, along with their employees, are running out of aid from the government and landlords more than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Firstly, PPRB is appealing to the government to impose a targeted moratorium to affected businesses, business owners and employees immediately,” the association said in the statement.

Its second request was for the government to defer the collection of sales and service tax (SST), all statutory payments, licence payments and taxes from such businesses for six months.

“Thirdly, we appeal for the government to provide a cash aid of RM4,000 (maximum) per business, per day to assist in covering basic overheads such as rent and wages,” it said.

When contacted, PPRB vice president Jeremy Lim clarified that his association was proposing that the government creates a “tier” system where restaurants are given cash aid proportionate to the size of their business.

“Operators will need to show proof of overheads before they get this aid,” he said.

He said mid- to high-tier restaurants can incur costs of upwards of RM120,000 a month, when taking into account various expenses, which cannot be covered when running on a delivery-only model.

“On average for an all-day dining restaurant, in the kitchen, you will need 13 to 15 chefs and cooks. For the customer-facing end, you need waiters, cashiers, bartenders, managers and machinery supervisors. This comes up to about RM80,000 a month.

“Then there is a backend department which covers human resources, purchasing, accounting, and marketing as well as rental and utilities. Altogether, it is more than RM50,000 a month,” he said.

In its statement, PPRB also cited a report last month which showed that only 0.96 per cent of Covid-19 clusters then identified by the Ministry of Health involved restaurants, and urged the government to reassess the risk of allowing dine-ins at restaurants.

The third MCO was implemented in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur last week, but is set to expand nationwide, imposing restrictions on travel, events, activities and businesses — including a ban on dine-ins at restaurants.

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