Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
PETALING JAYA: The government’s decision to reopen 11 economic activities in states under Phase 1 of the national recovery plan from today has once again pitted opinions between businesses and health experts.
From the business perspective, industry players fighting for survival give the nod to the reopening while health experts disagree.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the decision to reopen was taken after considering the risk analysis carried out by the health, and domestic trade and consumer affairs ministries, and discussions with the stakeholders in the respective trades.
The 11 activities are car wash centres, electrical and electronic shops, household items and kitchenware shops, furniture shops, sportswear shops, car accessory shops, car sales and distribution centres, morning markets and agricultural markets, fashion and accessory centres, jewellery shops, and hairdressers, barbers and beauty parlours (only for haircuts).
Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye believed it was not the right time to reopen economic sectors, saying that only half of the population had received at least a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“Another 16% have registered but are not yet vaccinated, 13% adults have not registered and the other 20% are under 18 years old,” he told FMT.
“When we ease restrictions too early, the unvaccinated will get the brunt of the pandemic because they will experience a higher rate of mortality and serious disease. We should wait until at least all those registered are vaccinated before we open the economic sectors.
“If we speed up the vaccination rate, we should hit the target within three weeks.”
He said decisions on reopening should be made according to a risk-based assessment. “Some sectors which involve minimal number of staff or customers, or which are in an open-air setting, should be allowed to open with proper SOPs.”
Business Survival Group adviser Ameer Ali Mydin thanked the government for listening to the industry players and allowing more sectors to be reopened in states under Phase 1.
“This will definitely stimulate the country’s economy because the industries in Phase 1 states are the major contributors of the country’s GDP,” he told FMT.
However, he said, the government should also keep the supply chain moving in the Phase 1 states. “For example, if you allow fashion outlets to reopen, you should also reopen textile factories. If not, how do these outlets get their materials?”
The small and medium enterprises association (Samenta) urged the government to review the current SOPs to make them more consistent and reflective of operational reality.
In a statement, Samenta chairman William Ng suggested four SOPs changes.
“Firstly, we repeat our call to do away with the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses, and for re-opening decisions to be based strictly on capacity, ability to implement and enforce social distancing and safe operational guidelines and vaccination status of employees, customers and visitors.
“Secondly, we urge the government to refine the SOP and reopening guidelines to reflect a single operational parameter, instead of the announced tiered approach. We suggest allowing all sectors, including manufacturing, construction and retail, to reopen at 80% capacity when 80% of all employees are fully vaccinated.
“Thirdly, given the varied SOPs, we urge the government to immediately direct all enforcement agencies to adopt a consultative approach to enforcing the SOPs. Businesses should not be fined immediately for inadvertent lapses and minor oversight that are not a clear danger to employees, customers or visitors.
“Fourthly, we once again urge the government to have a single agency or point of contact to coordinate the issuance of permits and operating approval letters, instead of requiring businesses to go to their respective ‘governing ministries’.”
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