Food caterers and canopy providers expect brisk business during election campaign in Malaysia

State DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow hosting a durian party with media members at his service centre at Jalan Kedah in George Town, Malaysia.
State DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow hosting a durian party with media members at his service centre at Jalan Kedah in George Town, Malaysia. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Political parties are gearing up for Malaysia's 14th general election with ceramah and events. So are food caterers and canopy providers.

Businesses in these two sectors have started receiving bookings from political parties since two months ago.

LC Catering proprietor Zaini Atan said the company had been receiving orders from political parties for their events here since last month (March).

He said most of the events, such as the launch of party manifestos for Johor, are expected to draw a crowd of 1,000 to 1,500 people.

"Their favourites dishes are nasi briyani and nasi serai (lemongrass rice) which are synonymous with Johor, and other side dishes such as ayam masak merah," said Zaini.

His company charges RM25 (S$8.50) and above per head, depending on the choice of dishes and whether the food is served in buffet or sit-down style.

Burger stall owner from Pagoh, Zulkiflie Ahmad, said he would set up a temporary kiosk selling burgers to those attending political ceramah at night.

"I'm getting help from my friends to cope with the orders by pre-packing the burgers instead of cooking them on the spot," he said.

Live One Events proprietor Sunny Chong expects to make good money renting canopies to political parties during the election period.

He said his company's main clients are property developers based in Iskandar Malaysia but with the election looming, many developers are putting their project launches on hold.

"It is normal for us to receive fewer bookings from developers during the election period. Business will usually pick up again after the election," said Chong.

He said his company also received bookings to set up tents in Batu Pahat, Muar and Kluang as canopy providers in these areas are already fully booked.

Chong said the company charges between RM250 and RM500 for no-frills tents, depending on the seating capacity and installation of fans and lights.

"You have to fork out extra money if you want tents with decorative items such as colourful backdrops, chandelliers or coolers," he said.

Chong said business was good in the 2013 election, adding that he hoped this election would also bring higher income for him.

In George Town, the bountiful durian season means there are plenty of the thorny fruits to go around during the run-up to the polls.

State DAP (Democratic Action Party) chairman Chow Kon Yeow organised a durian party for the media on Wednesday (April 4).

"Usually, I will have the party in June or July at the peak of the season, but my people got some good durians at a good price this week," he said at the party at his Padang Kota office in Kedah Road.

Asked about the opposition party's candidate list for the election, Chow said: "I'll only talk about durians today."