Adapting to survive: The rise of post-MCO traders

With job losses everywhere, new opportunities are being sought

KABILAN K: We are now seeing a new breed of small entrepreneurs cropping up in our neighbourhoods. Dubbed as ‘post-MCO traders’, these young upstarts can be seen by roadsides, at back lanes, or just in front of their houses, selling their ware — usually foodstuff.

Look around and you will see new people selling nasi lemak, kuih muih or coconut water in your area.
At the same time, the regular traders have extended their businesses to sell other things too. So you have a nasi lemak seller now doing mixed rice, or a fruit seller now selling drinks as well.

Just this morning, I saw my usual nasi lemak lady selling flowers — orchids — along with her usual menu. Now, instead of nasi lemak sotong, you can pack back nasi lemak with orchid!

These are signs of the time, of how economic hardship has hit people hard, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown which followed that has crippled the economy.

According to the Statistic Department, Malaysia’s unemployment rate worsened between in May, affecting some 826,100 people.

A survey by recruitment company JobStreet meanwhile revealed a scarier picture — that more than two million Malaysians are expected to end up unemployed.

They also speak about the uncertainties arising from their new ventures — of not having regular income or customers, and overcoming local council bylaws and regulations.

It is good news that people are not sitting idly, waiting for things to get better. They have decided to look for opportunities. Some will learn new skills, while others will reskill themselves so that they remain in the game.

It is no longer an issue of staying ahead of anyone. Right now, it is a case of remaining in the game, and to fight it out.

We need to think-out-of-the-box, and to look for new opportunities, even if it means trying out something not within our comfort zone. We will have to adapt to survive.

Kabilan K is a writer with more than 27 years of experience.

This is the writer’s personal opinion and does not reflect the portal’s views.

Photo: Facebook Majlis Bandaraya Seremban

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