School canteen operators have expressed unhappiness over the Education Ministry's silence over their appeal for another six months extension on a moratorium for premise rental.
School Canteen Operators Association secretary Siti Normah Md Desa said their members are burdened by school closures during the various movement control orders.
She said they recently faced an added burden after being issued a reminder from the state education department for rent to be paid from July onwards.
"Given the moratorium that we received from January to June has ended, they issued a reminder that rent collection will resume.
"If it’s a big school, the rent can reach up to RM3,000 to RM4,000 a month, with a minimum of RM1,200.
"So, I think canteen operators will not be able to afford that," she told Malaysiakini.
Siti Normah said the association had applied to the ministry for an extension but has yet to receive a response.
"The ministry should understand that canteen operators are out of business, our canteens are not operating and we did not use the premise.
"So why do we need to pay rent when we are not using the premise?" she asked.
She said the association had placed its hope on the government but yet they are pressured to pay rent even with no operations.
"The ministry should show more concern and issue an urgent response, not just remain silent. The association deeply regrets the situation," she said.
Malaysiakini recently sighted a screenshot that showed a reminder from the Selangor Education Department informing canteen operators that rent collection will resume this month and payments must be made latest by July 7.
According to the notice, schools must issue a "reminder letter" to canteen operators who failed to make payments by July 7.
The letter was said to be issued for compliance with the school's finance and audit procedures, rather than to punish school canteen operators.
It also stated the ministry had in a circular dated Dec 5 last year that rent moratorium will only be offered from January to June this year.