PETALING JAYA: Thousands of food and beverage (F&B) companies in Malaysia are pleading for government relief and support as the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), down on their knees.
With the movement control order in place until March 31, businesses are facing diminished sales coupled with other costs, including ongoing obligations to pay rent, supply bills, wages and allowances, said an informal group of independent Malaysian F&B players.
“The welfare of our employees is a central factor in the health of our businesses, and we are doing our very best to avoid any layoff or retrenchment. However, this course will be inevitable if we are unable to sustain our costs and stay in business, ” it added.
The informal group of independent Malaysian F&B companies comprises of members including café and restaurant operators as well as suppliers.
The F&B firms have urged the government to provide some form of relief including financial assistance for employees who are affected by pay-cuts and direct assistance for employers who will be forced to shut their businesses as they have no means to pay wages and other expenses.
Other government assistance also includes providing income tax relief for all affected businesses and revising the financing rate of the RM2bil special assistance facility to ease the short term cashflows of SMEs affected by Covid-19.
Meanwhile, F&B players pointed out that the current maximum financing rate of 3.75% per year is also not be viable for many businesses given the challenging operating situation.
Given that income of businesses are severely impaired, the group said it would not be able to sustain normal costs of business although its top priority is to avoid retrenching employees during this crisis.
Businesses in the hospitality, F&B and tourism sectors face a projected decline in revenue of more than 50%, said Hapa Group Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Jennifer Ong.