Mydin stores nationwide may have had their fair share of shoplifting and theft cases over the years, but what they are seeing during the Covid-19 pandemic is heartbreaking.
According to Malaysiakini, Mydin has observed that people are resorting to stealing basic food products from their stores due to economic hardship caused by the pandemic.
Mydin managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin said thefts have shifted to staples instead of more expensive items such as electronics, as it used to be.
“Thefts in hypermarkets like Mydin have gone up. People are stealing more. But unfortunately, they are not stealing high-value items. Those days, people came and they stole televisions. They steal speakers. They steal high-value items because they want to sell.”
“But now the thieves are stealing ikan kembung (mackerels). It’s sad,” he said during a virtual press conference organised by Industries Unite (IU) on Tuesday, 6 July.
Ameer also noted that sales of instant noodles had also shot up signalling economic woes.
“The sales of (instant) noodles have skyrocketed. Very very high. Do you think this is because people are too lazy to cook? No, it’s because people cannot afford to buy anything else.
“Noodles are the cheapest way to fill your stomach. You know that when you cook noodles, it fills your stomach, like roti canai. So you fill yourself up. Is that how we want people to fill their stomachs?” Ameer said.
Ameer, who is the co-founder of Industries Unite (IU) — a coalition of 115 trade associations and chambers of commerce representing an estimated 3.3 million businesses in Malaysia — added that Mydin even rolled out an initiative to help the needy recently and received over 5,000 requests within 24 hours.
He shared these stories as the coalition urged the government to come up with a new strategy in battling the COVID-19 outbreak.
Another IU co-founder, David Gurupatham, told the press that a new narrative must be made so that people do not suffer from losing their sources of income while curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
David urged the government to start listening to input from industry players when it comes to managing industries during the pandemic and brought up the recent white flag movement which is evidence that people are suffering economically.
“The National Security Council may save us from the virus (by imposing MCO), but what is the point when the people are going to die from starvation?” he said.