Analysts urge critical sectors to resume first

Manufacturing is one of the sectors that the govt should focus on as it accounts for 85% of the country’s exports and imports


THE government has been asked to think thoroughly about its decision of allowing which sectors to operate during the extended Movement Control Order (MCO) period, in order to mitigate the economic impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the MCO is extended to April 28 as the country continues its battle against Covid-19.

Matching analysts’ expectations, the government will gradually reopen some sectors to offset some of the economic impact.

The International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) issued a list of additional sectors allowed to resume operations, including the automotive industry which is limited to exports of completely built-up, parts and components, as well as after-sales services like maintenance.

However, these additional businesses must apply for permission with MITI beginning April 13 via

Putra Business School associate Prof Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latif said although it was quite an obvious list of additional sectors, which are needed to fulfil global orders and contribute the most to the economy, he urged the government to not forget some sectors which are needed by the common people.

He suggested for the agriculture sector such as farms and fishery to be allowed to resume operations.

“Agriculture needs to be given attention. Even though it is not the main contributor to the country’s economy, it has great significance along with wholesaling, retailing and logistics which are most affected during the MCO,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Meanwhile, MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd senior analyst Imran Yassin Mohd Yusof believed that businesses that will reopen are those in the critical sectors first.

“It could be manufacturers involved in the whole value chain of food, as well as health and medical supplies.

“We believe that for the construction sector, it will be very minimal, and priority should be on maintenance-type jobs,” he told TMR.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the manufacturing sector is one of the sectors that the government should focus on as it accounts for 85% of the country’s exports and imports.

“While such an announcement is positive to the economy, strict adherence to the MCO measures, such as regular sanitisation and social distancing, must be closely scrutinised by the law enforcement officers.

“This is the main challenge as the government would need to tread on a tightrope between health and the economy,” he told TMR.

As it is now, he said the top priority is health and therefore, the level of scrutiny cannot be compromised at all.