by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / pic by TMR FILE
THE Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) is urging the government to speed up the vaccination for the distribution and retail trade industry players to accelerate the recovery of the domestic economy.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi (picture) said this matter should be taken seriously considering the importance of domestic trade and retail in driving the country’s economy.
“I had a discussion with the Federation of Malaysian Business Associations where all industry players agreed that the main step is to expedite the immunisation programme to the industry frontliners and provide any assistance that they need,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The session was attended by more than 90 representatives of the retail subsectors.
“KPDNHEP is very concerned about the domestic trade sector’s situation due to the Covid-19 crisis, where they either cannot operate or are operating limitedly, leading to mounting financial burden and workers unable to support their families,” Nanta Linggi said.
He also suggested that the vaccination programme for the sectors under KPDNHEP begin this month.
“The Economic Frontliner Immunisation Programme is very important in preparation for the reopening of various economic sectors in the next phase of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).
“This is in line with the World Health Organisation’s statement that it would take two to three weeks for the vaccine recipient to build immunity,” he said.
According to the Health Ministry’s data, the domestic trade sector has managed to obey the standard operating procedures (SOPs) at 98.54% and only 0.8% of Covid-19 clusters came from this sector.
Nevertheless, Nanta Linggi said this sector should be given priority in the immunisation programme, especially as the workers are exposed to infections as they have to interact with consumers daily.
He added that the retail sector, being an essential service, operates throughout Phase 1 of the NRP to ensure the public have continuous access to daily needs without having to panic buy.
“The ministry is confident that by accelerating vaccination for industry players, the domestic economy could be reopened as soon as possible with compliance to strict SOPs, including physical distancing and cleanliness at all premises,” he said.