GEORGE TOWN — The Penang government has cancelled all Ramadan bazaars in the state this year to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (picture).

He said the decision was made at the State Special Security Committee (JKKN) meeting today after taking into consideration the safety and health of the people in the state.

In addition, Chow said several services are allowed to operate twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 am to 2 pm, beginning April 6.

“The services include shops selling agricultural inputs like fertilisers and pesticides, hardware, shops selling pet food and medicines as well spare part shops,” he told a press conference which was broadcast live via his personal Facebook page here today.

Other services which require urgent repairs for critical works, cleaning and spraying of pesticides, banking services involving IT (information technology) department and cash management department, and maintenance works to 10 critical sectors are allowed to operate as usual.

Meanwhile, Chow said a total of 1, 392 state Social Welfare Department (JKM) recipients received one-off RM500 cash assistance allocated under the Penang Relief Package.

 For federal aid recipients, it would be channelled on April 10 while the payments for tour guides and school bus operators have started since yesterday, he said.

Chow said the payment for rickshaw peddlers will be made manually this week.

“The state government understands the hardship of the Penang people. Therefore, it is the intention of the state government to provide all assistance as soon as possible.

“I hope that all payments will be made by second week of April,” he said.

At the press conference, Chow announced that Tenaga Nasional Berhad had donated RM2 million to the state government to purchase medical and clinical equipment while Tamarins Group Sdn Bhd, a developer company, contributed RM200,000 to the Penang COVID-19 Fund.