Social media has been abuzz with the name Ateeqah Mazlan recently. Who is she and why is she Singapore’s most hated person?
In summary, Ateeqah is 30-year old former Suria actress turned aspiring social media influencer, and found fame of the negative kind recently when she was accused of ratting out home bakers who were trying to make a living selling baked goods during the heightened circuit breaker measures, which coincides with the Ramadan period.
Online enemy #1
It all began late last week when Ateeqah posted a video on her Facebook page in response to the extended circuit breaker measures announced last Tuesday. In the video, she described her in-depth investigation into the legality of home-based businesses by making enquiries with various authorities, encouraging people to call the authorities if they needed further clarification on the issue.
While her posts on FB and IG have been taken down, they have been reproduced across social media, with many criticising her for not understanding the plight of home-based bakers. Ever since Ramadan bazaars have been cancelled, many home businesses were left with a stockpile of goods in storage with no customers to sell to.
Days after her video, the authorities officially announced a confirmation that home-based businesses that required owners to leave their homes or delivery services to pick up and drop goods were not allowed to operate. Plus, all orders had to be cancelled, including pre-orders, so refunds had to be made since selling home-made cakes or other food items would be considered illegal.
Obviously, a lot of folks – business owners or not – went online to rant about her behaviour, laying blame on her for snitching to the authorities.
She has since gone on a live interview with Sujimy Mohamad to explain her stance; the segment went on air at 9:30pm on Monday, April 27. The live video peaked with some 43,500 viewers who tuned in simultaneously.
Online petition fuels the fire
Since the official announcement, a petition has been made to urge HDB to allow small home-based businesses to continue during the circuit breaker. However, the move has been called “irresponsible” by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.
The official stance on home bakers
HDB clarified that home-based businesses, regardless of product (like baked goods), are not allowed to operate if it involved delivery services or if they require the owner to leave their homes. Those found breaking these rules will face a fine of $1,000 for the first offense.
Faishal Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development, acknowledges the concerns of the community and encourages home-based business owners to apply for a Temporary Relief Fund – a one-time cash payment of $500.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli added: “Let’s not let our sacrifices be in vain because of the interests of a few. Being calm and patient is also in the spirit of fasting in Ramadan.”