Kuching residents flock to popular pawn shop to free up cash

Part of a long queue which formed outside the pawn shop at Carpenter Street this morning (May 12, 2020).

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, May 12: A long, snaking queue at a pawn shop located at Carpenter Street was spotted as early as 8am today, the first day when businesses are allowed to operate under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

After interviewing a number of those in queue, the presence of such a large crowd points towards one major common factor — many people now are short of cash after the two months of Movement Control Order (MCO) triggered by Covid-19 pandemic.

A man in his late 50’s who only wished to be known as Pak Mat revealed he has no choice but to pawn his wife’s gold ornaments to support his family.

“Life has been very tough since the last two months. I have lost my job. So, I came today to pawn my wife’s gold stuff. At two per cent interest, it is very reasonable,” Pak Mat told DayakDaily today.

He also hoped that he would be able to secure a job soon as a daily paid labourer.

Another interviewee who identified himself only as Ahip said he came to service his interest payment.

“I gave the chance to the elderly to carry out their transactions first. After all, I came today only to service my interest,” he said.

Ahip, who works as a clerk with the Education Office said he was glad that Kuching has a pawn shop which offers reasonable rates for previous metals.

“I have gotten used to using their services. It’s even better than using credit cards which normally charges interest rate of 18 per cent per annum,” he said.

For Ujang who is in his 40’s, he has to pawn his gold as he needs the money for the coming Gawai Dayak festival.

“Even though we are not cerebrating Gawai on a big scale as in previous years due to CMCO, we still have to buy stuff for the family reunion,” he said.

For a hawker who preferred to be known as Madam Yong, the previous two months have been tough for her family.

“Our small business has been badly hit by MCO. So, the only way for us to get going is to pawn our precious ornaments. We hope that after this CMCO, we can operate our stall again to recover our lost income,” she said.

However, all four interviewees recorded their appreciation to both the state and federal governments’ initiatives to provide some safety nets during the MCO.

“If it was not for the government’s assistance, we could have gone hungry. But with the assistance, at least we did not go hungry and I was able to provide food for my family,” Pak Mat reiterated. — DayakDaily