Worst might be over for retailers in recovery mode

MRCA will be having more courses to teach members about taking advantage of Penjana and IT adaptation, Tay says

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by ARIF KARTONO

THOUGH retailers have been severely affected by the Movement Control Order (MCO), a positive outlook must be upheld, said newly minted Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) president Shirley Tay.

“Our members have been very severely affected. We can relate to the finance minister’s recent report that our GDP has dropped by 17.1% in the second quarter of 2020.

“But it was comforting when he said the drop was only 3.2% in June compared to April’s 28.6%. It means that the worst had happened during the MCO and that during the Conditional MCO and Recovery MCO, there was a certain extent of recovery,” she said in a press conference at MRCA’s office in Subang Jaya recently.

Despite concerns of another wave of Covid-19, she said everyone must make sure that another MCO does not happen.

“I would like to stay positive on the outlook. I would like people to go out and spend their money if they can, this is a purchasing cycle,” Tay said.

She believed that when people resume purchasing, it would help the economy bounce back.

Tay said part of a contingency plan that will help its members to weather the storm is by setting up its food and beverage chapter, which MRCA has been very excited about.

“We hope to look at other sectors, as well. This is to help the industry players come together to have a bigger voice.

“When we represent the bigger majority, then we can talk to the government or any authorities like suppliers or landlords, hoping that they will look from our perspective and see how much our members have suffered.

“We hope they can consider helping us pull through this difficult time,” she said.

She said when retailers, especially small and medium enterprises, are badly affected, many people will be impacted along the way.

On top of that, MRCA is also having its CEO networking initiative where successful corporate entrepreneurs would share their business expertise and knowledge with each other.

For its training arm, MRCA Academy, Tay said to help MRCA members survive, they will be having more courses to teach members to take advantage of incentives like the short-term National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) or the information technology (IT) adaptation.

The good thing is that our members are very fast and resilient to adapt to the new way of doing business by going online and tapping on the different types of opportunities as well,” she added.

Meanwhile, MRCA had recently initiated the “Love Touches Lives” charity project to aid single mothers in Malaysia who have taken a hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A survey conducted by Selangor’s Women Empowerment Institute saw a majority of single mothers earning less than RM3,000 a month, where at least 40% of them were forced to either take unpaid leave or close their businesses during the MCO.

The charity project, which runs from Aug 14 to Sept 30, will be to help single mothers regardless of race, ethnicity and religion. So far, MRCA managed to raise almost RM30,000 out of its target of RM100,000.

There are six single mothers’ organisations that are the beneficiaries of this project — Great Heart Charity Association, Kassim Chin Humanity Foundation, Persatuan Ibu Tunggal Spring Malaysia, Association of Social Services and Community Development of Gombak District, Selangor, Persatuan Wanita dan Ibu Tunggal Nur Iman Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, and Women of Will.