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KOTA KINABALU, April 14 -- Although no Ramadan bazaars were allowed to operate in Sabah this year, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lively atmosphere can still be seen as people are busy buying dishes for breaking the fast from roadside stalls and in shopping complexes.
A check by Bernama in several areas found that traders took the opportunity to do business by setting up stalls along the road shoulder as well as in shopping complexes, shop houses and restaurants by providing customers with packed meals at their premises.
One of the traders, Nurul Hidayah Jaafar, 24, who sells various types of flavoured drinks at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) here, said that she and her family decided to put up a roadside stall at the location due to the heavy traffic in the area.
“Often, when people are leaving for home, they would stop by to purchase the drinks, so this method makes it easier for those who are busy to buy food to break their fast at home,” she told Bernama today.
On April 7, state Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, was reported to have said that the decision not to allow Ramadan bazaars to operate, took into account the current situation of the COVID-19 outbreak in Sabah, which is still worrying due to many new clusters stemming from recent social gatherings.
Restaurant operator Abdul Malik Hamza, 51, said that in previous years he would sell ‘nasi beriani’ at the Ramadan bazaar around Kota Kinabalu. However, this year he decided to open a table to sell the dish in front of his restaurant in Kepayan here.
“Response has been encouraging as many bought the ‘beriani kambing’, but it was lot livelier in the past at Ramadan bazaar, with a lot of sales ... now with the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to adhere to the SOP (standard operating procedure). So, we try to do business the best we can,” he said.
Meanwhile, a check in the Maruntum Putatan area, which is the main focus of the Ramadan bazaar for Kota Kinabalu residents, found that the area was quiet due to the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) being enforced since Monday.
A civil servant, Mohd Salleh Zulkefli, 45, said that he was a little disappointed as he could not buy various popular dishes from Sabah and other states in the Peninsula at the Ramadan Bazaar in Maruntum Putatan like the previous years, but complied with the SOP set by the government.
In SARAWAK, there were no Ramadan bazaars in Kuching this year, which are usually held in the Satok, Semarak and Sukma Ria areas, following the decision of the North Kuching City Hall (DBKU).
As such, most traders in Kuching use online platforms to sell their food directly to the public.
Civil servant Nur Fatin Ahmad, 30, who used online platforms to buy breaking fast food, said that the move was timely to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
On April 7, DBKU, in a statement, said that the organisation of Ramadan bazaars in the current epidemic situation would only increase the risk of close contact and hamper efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Sarawak.