KUALA LUMPUR: Bowling centre operators are pleading with the government to allow them to resume operations soon to safeguard the livelihoods of about 2,000 employees.
In a virtual press conference today, the group represented by Sunway Megalanes assistant general manager Michelle Wong, Ampang Superbowl marketing manager Mustafa Yassin, Lite Superbowl Centre manager Wan Muhd Fauzwan, U Bowl director John Wang, KL Megalanes Centre manager Zulmazlan Zulkifli and Mega Bowling Centre manager Adrian Charles Dragon, said the vast majority of the staff affected are Malaysians.
They said the 160 days of closure during the movement control order first implemented in March last year took a big toll on the operators as some were not under the Prihatin scheme and so had to either lay-off staff, impose pay cuts or suspend salaries altogether when the centres were closed.
“There are about 90 bowling centres nationwide with about 2,000 staff working in various departments. We can say that all centres are still paying rentals though closed, and only some have small cuts in rentals.
“We hope all the centres will be allowed to operate soon. Bowling is a non-contact sport and we are adhering to standard operating procedures (SOPs) involved like social distancing, sanitising bowling balls and shoes as well ensuring the wearing of face mask,” Wong said.
Meanwhile, Mustafa was also hopeful that the National Security Council (MKN) will allow them to operate with specific SOPs drafted for bowling centres similar to the one used for gymnasiums.
“On average, to operate a medium-sized centre of 24 lanes will cost about RM80,000 a month for rental, electricity and salary not taking into account the location and other factors. So, if it is limited to only 10 people, we have to bear the losses.
“Of course, we would like to have the SOPs designed for bowling centres based on the capacity, like not more than 30% of the full capacity because we actually follow the SOPs,” he said.
Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress secretary-general Maradona Chok said the bowling centres in the country have been very obedient in following the SOPs and no complaints of problems or cases have been reported in any of the centres.
“It will be good if centres are allowed to operate with detailed SOPs specifically for bowling and according to the capacity. It can be maintained in a very safe manner.
“We are in close contact with the National Sports Council. They have informed us that youth and sports minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican promised to raise this matter to MKN in today’s meeting. We are hoping to receive good news,” he said.