Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government ensures the protection of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the expansive presence of modern retail, said Arif Rahman Hakim, secretary of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, in a statement on Saturday.

He made the statement to respond to recent reports about his ministry urging the owners of small 24-hour retail shops called "warung madura" to comply with local operating hours regulations.

"In principle, we continue to provide various support, protection, and empowerment for MSMEs, according to Government Regulation Number 7 of 2021," he remarked.

The regulation regulates issues related to the convenience, protection, and empowerment of cooperatives and MSMEs, including simplifying business licensing, protecting the rights of MSMEs, and access to capital.

According to the regulation, every ministry, institution, and regional government is required to have legal aid and assistance services for MSMEs that encompass legal distribution, legal consultation, mediation, and preparation of legal documents.

Hakim clarified that his ministry has never prohibited Madurese retail shops from operating 24 hours a day, as they are not minimarkets, supermarkets, or department stores.

Meanwhile, regional regulations regarding restrictions on operating hours are only applicable to modern retail businesses, minimarkets, hypermarkets, department stores, and supermarkets, he stated.

Hakim denied claims that the ministry was favoring minimarkets or other modern retail. He even called on the public to shop at stores owned by MSMEs.

Regarding an appeal from a village head in Bali to limit Madurese retail shops for 24 hours, Hakim said he would clarify with the official for further explanation.

"We will also evaluate regional policies that are counterproductive to the interests of MSMEs," he remarked.

The head of Penatih Village in East Denpasar, Bali, earlier conveyed an appeal to limit the operating hours of Madurese retail shops. The appeal was issued by the Penatih Sub-district for security reasons.

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Translator: Shofi Ayudiana, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Anton Santoso
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