KUALA LUMPUR: Some 150 out of the 6,220 craft entrepreneurs who registered with Kraftangan Malaysia were reported to have left the industry since Covid-19 hit the country until Aug 31 this year, the Dewan Negara was told today.

Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Dr Santhara Kumar (pix) said they left due to several factors , including age, health, opportunities in other fields and challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On homestay operators, he said, there were 3,060 operators registered with the Malaysian Homestay Experience Programme and they too suffered badly due to the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic that hit the country since last year has brought in changes with the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) nationwide.

“It impacted all levels of society, including craft entrepreneurs and homestay operators,” he said during the question and answer session in the Dewan Negara today.

Santhara Kumar was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Isa Ab Hamid who wanted to know the number of handicraft entrepreneurs and home stay operators who were affected by the MCO, and also on assistance provided by the ministry.

However, he told the house, that the earning from homestay activities was secondary income to the operators as most of them were settlers, farmers or fishermen.

On the assistance provided by the ministry, he said, they were in non-financial forms such as the Skills and Skills Upgrading Programme, Craft Community Skills Development Programme, as well as providing a one-off financial assistance, involving RM1.836 million under the People and Economic Strategic Empowerment Programme (Pemerkasa).


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