Hefty losses as outlets close over Bersih rally

Above: Burger King manager-on-duty Muhammad Hafidz Ibrahim (L) and Kamdar assistant branch manager Sumathy Muniam (R), whose business was affected yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR - A number of shops bore the brunt of the chaos in the city on Saturday, with lost sales of more than RM100,000.

Kamdar assistant branch manager Sumathy Muniam said Bersih 3.0 had affected business so badly in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman that there were no customers there the whole day.

She said it was to have been a good day for sales as Hari Raya was approaching and weekends usually record high sales.

"We were expecting a big crowd because it was the time of the month when government servants got their salaries. Instead what we got was chaos."

She said the staff in the shop were affected by the tear gas that seeped into the shop even though it was closed.

Sumathy said one employee was hospitalised after inhaling too much tear gas.

She said losses amounted to more than RM100,000 (S$40,000) on Saturday and an estimated RM70,000 yesterday as people were still afraid to come out.

She said the protesters should show some courtesy to other people when fighting for what they believe in.

"I though they said they wanted to sit and protest, instead, all we saw were protesters running about creating chaos in the city."

"It was lucky I did that because most of my staff couldn't make it to the outlet on time as roads were blocked, resulting in them having to walk."

He said the outlet was closed twice during the day and only opened for four hours.

"Tear gas began to enter the premises. One protester came in and threatened to smash the glass windows if we didn't open the place.

"Our toilets were in a mess, tables and chairs were overturned, posters were torn down and we almost had our glass windows smashed by a tear gas canister which hit a protester near the outlet."

Hafidz said he allowed two foreigners and two female media personnel into the premises as they were seeking refuge.

"The situation was out of control and there was panic everywhere. We gave out free mineral water, salt and ice to the people."

He said most of the losses suffered by the outlet were property damages and an estimate RM3,000 in sales.

"I wished people had disbursed at 4pm like they had agreed to initially as it inconvenienced so many and affected so many businesses," he said.

Norsari Nahwan, 39, a salesgirl working in a clothing outlet in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman said the whole building where her shop was located was shut down by the management.

"Because of the frightening scenes before our eyes, Roshi Bazaar was ordered to shut down because of fears of property damage."

She said on a normal Saturday, she would rake in at least RM2,000 but there were no customers at all on Saturday.

Bata manager (Jalan TAR) Puah Tiong Yong said he lost a Saturday's earnings of about RM20,000.

"I closed my shop at 3pm after realising that it was not going to get better."

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