Balancing health and economic aspects for people’s sake


THE decision by the government to implement the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) by allowing almost all economic and social sectors to be reopened since Monday received various reaction from the public.

On the positive side, it allows the people to go back to work and generate income, hence helping to activate the country’s economy which was hit by the enforcement of the MCO since March 18, forcing most of the people to stay home to curb the spread of Covid-19.

On the other hand, although the MCO proved successful in flattening the Covid-19 curve in the country, there is still concern that the virus still poses a threat to public health.

For economist Dr Baayah Baba, the government’s decision in allowing certain sectors of the economy to operate again in a controlled manner could help the people at the grassroots get back to work and earn income.

She said if the government did not open the economic sector, many people will be affected in the long run as they would run out of savings, while companies could no longer generate income due to loss of resources and those in business could no longer operate as they had no more capital.

“Even the government can no longer afford to provide the necessary assistance to the people as the allocation to be made may also be affected due to poor economic development,” she told Bernama.

She said the move in opening the economic sector in stages could also help the government and the Ministry of Health (MoH) control the Covid-19 infection in the future.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his special message in conjunction with Labour Day on May 1 said Malaysia is losing RM2.4 billion daily throughout the implementation of the MCO.

He said the total loss suffered by the government since March 18 was RM63 billion and if the MCO continues for another month, the total loss will be another RM35 billion, bringing the total to RM98 billion.

The fact is, even though many economic and social sectors have been opened, it does not mean that the government does not see the need to protect the people’s health, with the Covid-19 pandemic still not over.

As such, it is important that the public comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the MoH and to embrace the new normal in their daily lives, with emphasis on no huge gatherings and to leave home only when necessary.

In ensuring a balance in the health and economic aspects, Kasih Cyberjaya Hospital occupational health specialist and general health doctor Dr Hanafiah Bashirun said those who do not need to be outside should stay home because the government’s purpose in relaxing the MCO regulations is to restore and generate economic activities.

He said the people play an important role in ensuring the SOPs set by MoH are fully complied with discipline. The people should always protect themselves by practising social distancing, washing their hands often and wearing face masks while at work during the CMCO.

Even the employers, he said, should strive to provide a clean work place and to always disinfect frequently touch areas, like door handles and knobs, stair rails, counters and lifts.

Dr Hanafiah also suggested flexible working hours for staff apart from adapting to work from home which has become a new normal since the MCO was implemented.

“Employers need to reduce the number of employees to only half of them being allowed to come to the office, with another half working from home or taking turn to work in the office.

“This adaptation to the new normal can help the country’s economy recover gradually without neglecting the health of workers,” he added.