By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, April 28: The business community in the border village of Kampung Serikin hopes the Covid-19 pandemic will subside soon as business has been ‘killed’ since the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect on March 18.
The normally bustling village has become like a ghost town as people here have been strictly abiding by the order.
The business community has also suffered tremendously, with the lockdown on the Indonesian side of the border as well as restricted movement on Sarawak’s side.
“I’m hoping for this Covid-19 to be over soon so that the government can lift the MCO as it is killing our business,” an elderly shopkeeper who preferred to remain anonymous told DayakDaily at her grocery store in Serikin, some 60km from here today.
She said since the MCO was implemented, she has lost not only her customers, most of whom are from Kalimantan, but incurred great financial loss.
“I lost in terms of customers as well as in terms of goods that has an expiry date. Although I can’t really quantify the amount of losses we suffered, I believed it is significant,” she said.
Ebi, who operates a handicraft shop at the other end of the shop row has also experienced a similar drop in business.
“Before the MCO, we dealt with customers from all over Sarawak who normally order in bulk. We even catered to buyers from West Malaysia,” she said.
Since the MCO started, there has been no business transactions and her family has been depending on their savings to survive.
“Like everyone else, we have to abide by the (MCO) law. Life is like that. This is really an unforeseen circumstance. But thank God, we are still able to live on because we have been saving. Without savings it will be really tough to get by,” she added.
Another shopkeeper, Christina Jibu, revealed her business too was not spared from the adverse impact brought by the MCO which was initiated to curb the spread of Covid-19 across the country.
“We used to have good business before the MCO as those from Kalimantan who trade here will buy stuff from us before they go back. But now, our only customers are from this kampung, which is not that many,” she said.
A villager who preferred to remain anonymous but admitted to being a staunch opposition supporter said staying safe is of paramount importance during the pandemic.
“What is important now is for us to remain safe and hope that the virus will go. Life has been tough under the MCO.
“But it (MCO) is also good otherwise the virus will spread like wildfire and we can all be in trouble as there is still no cure,” said the man.
Villager Dewek Siat, 47, said he would abide by the MCO as well as the government’s decision not to celebrate Gawai Dayak.
“We just have to follow what the government says… if there is no Gawai celebration on June 1 due to the MCO… it is also okay with me,” he said. — DayakDaily