Muhyiddin: Manufacturing, trade, services, plantation and construction remain operational
by RAHIMI YUNUS & S BIRRUNTHA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE government should consider extending financial aid, especially for economic sectors that will be affected by the reimplementation of Movement Control Order (MCO).
Malaysian Association of Hotels CEO Yap Lip Seng said the government should extend the proposed wage subsidy of 50% for employees with monthly pay of up to RM4,000 and 30% for those earning between RM4,000 and RM8,000.
He emphasised that industries need this to sustain, or else businesses will be forced to retrench employees with immediate effect.
“We understand the need for further control and restrictions due to the current situation and increase in Covid-19 cases in hotspots across the country.
“However, we need to stress the need for the government to make the right decision in balancing lives and livelihood. With the reimplementation of the MCO, businesses are again expected to lose all revenue streams, especially the tourism industry, when interstate travels are now restricted,” he added.
Yap said the hotel industry has already recorded at least 6% of retrenchment, with people losing their jobs since last year, while the rest are either on a pay cut or unpaid leave, in comparison to March 2020.
“We are in a worse situation now and we are expecting a bigger impact. Government must take immediate action to protect the industries in order to protect the people,” he added.
Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised address yesterday that six states — Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor, Sabah and the Federal Territories (FTs) of Kuala Lumpur (KL), Putrajaya and Labuan — will undergo the MCO from tomorrow until Jan 26.
He said for these six states, no inter-district travel will be allowed. The government also banned interstate travel nationwide.
Muhyiddin, however, said five economic sectors — manufacturing, services, trade, plantation and construction — remain operational.
Muhyiddin said the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) will provide more details on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for these essential economic sectors.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) said the association is looking forward to the expeditious release of the SOP details to allow enough time for businesses and industries to plan and adjust accordingly.
FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said it is indeed a relief to the industry as a full lockdown would be detrimental to the business sector, economy and livelihood of the people.
“It is most important that the process and procedure to operate are seamless and clear for fast implementation,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He also noted that FMM will be issuing an advisory to its members upon receiving the announcement on the details by MITI.
The PM said more than half (54.41%) or 259 of new Covid-19 clusters were spread from the workplace.
“This data shows a significant increase in the number of new clusters during the third wave compared to 110 new clusters recorded during the second wave, with 25 clusters (22.72%) involving the workplace.”
Without a strict intervention, Muhyiddin said Covid-19 cases could reach 5,000 daily by the second week of April and 8,000 cases in the fourth week of May, with a contagious infection indicator R-naught currently at 1.1.
For other sectors or services that are not listed as essentials, he said a work-from-home order is enforced.
The Penang government has called the people to accept the decision and provide cooperation for the successful implementation of the MCO.
Its Chief Minister (CM) Chow Kon Yeow said the people need to understand that the MCO is necessary when there is a sudden increase in Covid-19 cases that has almost paralysed the current public health system in the country.
Therefore, he said all economic sectors need to make adjustments to reduce the negative impact on the socioeconomic development of the state.
The state government will meet today to further refine the SOPs for the latest MCO, he said.
Similarly, Sabah also welcomed the federal government’s decision to impose a two-week MCO for the state beginning Jan 13.
CM Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor said the decision is necessary to prevent and halt the exponential increase of Covid-19 cases in the state.