PEKAN, July 2 -- The presence of huge numbers of people in the Chini state constituency during the campaign period of the by-election these last two weeks is a blessing to the local people.
Other that the party members, security personnel and the media whose presence during the run-up to a by-election are expected, the health workers who are on stand-by here with precautionary measures against COVID-19 bring relief to traders who had to shut-down operations since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced on March 18. Now that the current Recovery MCO has allowed many businesses to resume, traders in Chini are reaping profits beyond their normal pre-MCO operations.
For some, the profits have doubled, due largely to the presence of outsiders who have camped in Chini during the by-election and bought local goods and used local services. Homestay operator Notul Azura Jamaludin, 43, said her three units in the compounds of her home in Bandar Dara Chini near here were booked from nomination day until polling day this Saturday.
"It is rare that my homestays are booked for such long periods, usually at most three to five days. I consider this as good fortune for us locals,” she told Bernama.
She added that because the existing homestays could not meet the high demand, many settler homes which were unoccupied were converted into homestays.
Meanwhile, laundrette operator Latifah Awang, 59, said the Chini by-election period from June 20 breathed life into the local economy which had suffered during the MCO.
She said her laundrette is now working at full capacity, catering to the increased demand for services, even though she has maintained the usual price of RM3.50 for a kilogramme of clothes.
“There has been an increase in revenue as more people are sending their clothes to the laundrette,” she said.
Owner of a convenience store in Chini 3, Mohd Khairy Barderin, 28, said his revenue had doubled since the by-election began, with customers coming from outside the area to patronise his shop.
He said most bought mineral water, instant food and top-ups for their mobile phones. “My sales increased, but I have never met many of those who come to my store even though I was born and grew up here.
“Maybe they are election workers or voters who live elsewhere and have returned home to vote,” he said.
Others like rental car operators, restaurant owners and fruit sellers have also reaped benefits from the by-elections, enjoying increased earnings.
The Chini by-election sees a three-cornered fight between Barisan Nasional’s Mohd Sharim Md Zain, 41, and Independent candidates Tengku Datuk Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin, 64, and Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49. -- BERNAMA