Sibu coffeeshops in dire straits seek assistance

Tong (blue shirt) relating the association's requests to (facing front, from second left) Lau, Chieng, Wong and Tiang at the dialogue.

SIBU, Nov 29: The Sibu Coffeeshop and Restaurant Owners Association has sought the assistance of SUPP top brass here to sort out some issues during this trying Covid-19 pandemic time.

Association chairman Tong Ing Kok said business is poor and operation cost such as monthly shop rental had to be settled with landlords.

Tong managed to hold a dialogue with Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) executive members here to discuss means to reduce the financial burdens of the said businesses.

Those present at the dialogue from SUPP included its Bawang Assan chairman Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew, Dudong chairman Wong Ching Yong, Bukit Assek Youth chairman Councillor Chieng Buong Toon and political secretary to the Chief Minister, Michael Tiang.

Tong appealed to the authorities to assist them by waiving the licensing fee for 2021.

“We also hope the council would waive the application fee for the use of five-foot-ways for the display of tables and chairs,” he said.

In addition, he requested the state government to provide them with the RM2,250 Sarawakku Sayang financial relief.

Chieng who is also the chairman of Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Building Control and Town Beautification unit later told reporters that he would raise these issues with the council.

“There are 805 coffee shops under SMC’s jurisdiction, out of which, 500 of them have already applied for the five-foot-way permit for 2020. Some of them had paid more than RM1,000 in annual fees. They felt that it is a big burden for them and are seeking for a waiver,” he said.

On the Sarawakku Sayang financial relief, Chieng said hawkers in coffeeshops are entitled to it but not coffeeshop operators.

“We in SUPP will bring this up to the higher authority in the state government through Michael Tiang,” assured Chieng. — DayakDaily