Pandemic restrictions driving industries to the ground


DATA from a government survey showed that companies facing the possibility of total losses of income might be heading to business closures if the Covid-19 crisis continues.

Findings from the Malaysia Productivity Corp (MPC) on how the coronavirus has affected productivity confirm the devastating impact of the pandemic, with Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) as the major disruptor.

“More than 70% of the respondents were significantly affected by the pandemic especially in terms of revenue streams,” MPC said in a statement yesterday.

Complete loss of income may snowball to other negative impacts in the workforce such as increased unemployment rates, loss of assets and accumulated debts, which will eventually lead to a decline in the country’s productivity growth.

“During the time of data collection, more than 50% of the respondents have already experienced a reduction of productivity levels between 25% and 100% due to restrictions in the movements of goods and people when the MCO was implemented on March 18,” MPC added.

Under the MCO, enforced to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus, most economic activities came to a near-complete and sudden halt as restrictions were placed on all non-essential services. Aviation, entertainment, hospitality, retail and construction were among the worst-hit sectors.

The MPC, a statutory body under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, has taken steps to accelerate economic recovery and assist industry players in rebuilding businesses, its DG Datuk Abdul Latif Haji Abu Seman said.

“Among the notable initiatives taken and still ongoing are industry capacity and capability building programmes via webinars and online training, business virtual advisory services and review of regulations to reduce unnecessary burdens in rebuilding businesses,” he said.

Efforts are still ongoing to hasten and catalyse economic recovery and productivity growth when certain sectors were allowed to reopen under the Conditional MCO, which began on May 4.

These efforts include video competitions and prize-giving ceremonies on the Productivity Linked Wage System with universities to pursue productivity culture.

“Productivity experts are also given opportunities to conduct online training such as C-Suite for leaders and share knowledge on ‘new norms’ to employees to prepare them for post-Covid-19,” Abdul Latif said.

Some 14,104 participants attended 93 online programmes held between March 17 and April 28, averaging 150 participants per programme, he added.

On a more positive note, nearly 50% of survey participants were receptive to the remote working model. Where possible, industries are utilising the work-from-home model, technology and digitalisation to adapt to the pandemic containment measures.

The MCO has also compelled industries to leverage technology faster to ensure business sustainability and delivery.

“Data collected indicated that business recovery would take a six-month duration after the crisis ends,” MPC said.

The corporation together with technical experts has also facilitated the recovery process for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) using e-Business solutions to rebuild their morale and revive their businesses, taking the MCO as an opportunity to enhance SMEs’ soft skills.

Other types of online facilitation include the Kopi Chat session, an online business consultancy on cost-effective Industry Revolution 4.0 solutions, understanding the new normal for SMEs, module revision and pitching session.