When the easiest thing becomes harder to do…

The MCO is something we have to do for now or the outcome will be more devastating than a country with a smaller economic pie


IT HAS been two weeks since Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin declared the Movement Control Order (MCO). It seemed easy at first, but after a while, even the introverts among us yearn to leave the comfort of our homes just to get some fresh air.

The disruption to our daily lives has started to take its toll on some of us. People are already complaining about cabin fever.

To be quarantined at home without anything to worry about is definitely a privilege. Gradually — and if the online sentiment is to be believed — more Malaysians have started to become anxious about the implications of the MCO.

More reports and stories are surfacing on social media platforms about the hardship of those living on daily wages and what they have to endure during the MCO. These are the people who earn money when they work.

Fortunately, local communities have stepped up to ease the sufferings of our brothers and sisters.

They pushed for donation drives as early as the first day itself. Sadly, people begin to realise the number of those requiring assistance whether cash or daily essentials are overwhelmingly high.

The economic stimulus package announced last week would provide some respite for the low wage earners. PM said no one would be left behind and the priority is to ensure that everyone will be able to put food on the table during this unprecedented economic and health crisis.

The middle-class household will enjoy the six-month loan moratorium beginning today, to ease their financial burdens.

But by now, the worries and concerns have already been shared by SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and even MNCs (multinational corporations) as well. The extension of the MCO, without a doubt, will create a hole in a company’s cashflow.

They fear the inevitable, but have little options. Retrenchment to some extent will happen. To say otherwise will be wishful thinking.

The tourism industry, especially hoteliers, would incur up to RM1 billion in revenue losses. The Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign has collapsed and RM100 billion in tourist receipts would be just a footnote.

Looking at the current prospects, staying home becomes increasingly harder. It would be a tough act — juggling between an economic meltdown or mankind survival.

For the nation, its future and the tens of thousands of healthcare frontliners, it is something we have to do for now or the outcome will be more devastating than a country with a smaller economic pie.

  • Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.