The opening of borders is good news for traders

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JOHOR BARU: He hopes the smell of banana cake baked by his family bakery will attract customers again, once overland travel between Singapore and Malaysia resumes on April 1.

The banana cake was popular with visitors from as far away as Penang, said Lim Toh Huei, who is a third-generation manager who runs the Hiap Joo Bakery & Biscuit Factory.

“Half of our customers are Singaporeans, so news of the border reopening is like music to our ears,” Lim, 34, said.

Their activity had fallen by 70% since the border was closed in March 2020, but he said there had been a steady recovery since restrictions on movement had been gradually eased.

Coupled with online orders, he estimated they were able to recoup around 80% of their sales.

Another bakery owner, Salahuddin Shamsul, hopes to have more varieties of cakes, pastries and bread next month as a “welcome” snack for Singaporean visitors.

“I’m going to do it in phases because we still can’t anticipate how many people will get through day one. We will wait and see.

“If there is demand, we will double our efforts,” said Salahuddin, 58, third-generation owner of Salahuddin Bakery.

Before the border closed, her baked goods usually sold out every day.

Its most sought-after products were red bean paste buns, curry buns, and curry puffs.

“We also have other types of bread, but those are the three most popular items,” he said, adding he was grateful his family business had managed to survive the pandemic.

SBV textile shop owner S. Suresh, 49, said the reopening of the land border, especially the causeway, gave hope to many business owners operating in the urban area. .

“The past two years have been a trying time for us.

“The border closure has really hit home in the city, which has become a bit of a ghost town,” he said.

Suresh said he was confident things would change for the better once the border reopened.

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