MICCI appeals immediate lifting of MCO to prevent long-term economic blow


THE Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) has called for the Movement Control Order (MCO) to be lifted immediately to revive the economy and safeguard significant employment.

“It is time to make decisions based not on fear, but facts. The facts are that the Malaysian mortality rate from Covid-19 is extremely low and almost all the deaths are from underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer,” MICCI president Datuk Tan Cheng Kiat said in a statement yesterday.

Tan said a prolonged MCO will have far more damage to the country’s wellbeing than the pandemic itself, given that the death rate is exponentially lower than existing non-communicable diseases or even the common flu.

“Some key mid- to long-term effects of prolonged MCO are irreversible damage to the country’s fiscal health, loss of reputation as a global supply chain provider, loss of confidence from foreign direct investments, delayed education of future human talents and potential loss of employment of more than a million employees,” he said.

This, he said, will result in a downward spiral effect on the country’s already challenged country’s economy as the ability of the country to generate sufficient revenues is further diminished by the above factors.

He also said lessons from China show they are able to rebound quickly with no significant economic downturn, as they did not have a nationwide lockdown of all economic activity.

“They only localised the lockdown to the city or location with the highest infections, which we are already practising with the Enhanced MCO (EMCO) in various parts of the country,” said Tan.

Tan said without a robust return to economic activity, Malaysia’s revenue will be starved and will not have the capability of providing sufficient vaccines for a significant portion of the population.

“Dishing out misdirected populist cash handouts and encouraging businesses to take up more debt are not a sustainable options in the long run. Wage subsidy programmes will not guarantee sustained employment, as without business revenue, promises of no employee terminations will be meaningless,” he warned.

He concluded that in conjunction with the lifting of the MCO, active enforcement of the Health Ministry’s standard operating procedures compliance, localised EMCO, border controls, social distancing and sanitary practices should continue.