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MCO: Penang barbers plead to be allowed to operate

GEORGE TOWN (June 19): A barbers’ association, the Penang Maruthuvar Sangam seeks the government's permission to allow its members to operate, saying that they are mostly from the B40 (lower income) group.

Its treasurer V. Tharmaraj hoped that the government through the National Security Council (MKN) could see that barbers provide an essential service to society.

"We hope the government can pay attention to us as currently we do not have any source of income and do not get any assistance," he told Bernama.

According to him, all its members are ready to be vaccinated as an initial step to help the country achieve herd immunity as well as to get permission to operate.

He said that the association's 200 members and premises owners would comply with all standard operating procedures (SOPs) if given permission to ply their trade.

"In my opinion, it is not appropriate for the public  to have to wait until daily COVID-19 cases are below 2,000 cases in the third phase (of the National Recovery Plan) which is expected to be around September or October to get barber services," he said.

Meanwhile, Northern Zone Indian Hairdressers Welfare Association chairman S. Buvaneswaran in a statement pleaded to the government to provide interest-free loans to the owners of barber premises.

He said the barber services sector had not been allowed to operate since the Movement Control Order 3,0 (total lockdown) from June 1 and that all barbers now had lost their daily income.

"So we seek leeway from the government to provide financial loan flexibility so that we can resume operations," he said.

He hoped that the matter would be given attention by the federal government as well as the relevant state governments so that the barber services sector would be able to recover like other sectors after the COVID-19 pandemic was brought under control.

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