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COMMENT | The end of Malaysian small businesses

COMMENT | There is a small economy rice stall I go to for lunch. With the movement control order (MCO), there are unsurprisingly fewer people visiting here. Usually busy, the owner is much freer now, treating every customer like royalty.

She scooped in more rice for me, and when I picked the meat and vegetables I want, she kept asking the same question: Do you want more? I was not too hungry, so I refused. But towards the end, she asked it again: “Do you want to add more meat? I can charge you lower than usual, but please take some more.”

I asked her why. She said she is worried every day that she could not sell off everything. Because there are fewer customers who come to her stall now, she needs to count on every paying customer paying more. That is the only way she could stop making a loss.

But this is very hard. Most customers are tight on budget. They cut down on the meals they have and how much they pay for each meal. Instead of passing cash to one another, we are passing on desperation.

“Please, please take more...

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