by NURUL SUHAIDI / pic by TMR FILE
THE Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) is appealing to the government to allow all retail sectors to reopen immediately to ensure the survivability and sustainability of the sector participants.
The sector has already been irreversibly harmed, according to MRCA, and a further prolonged closure of non-essentials sectors in Phase 1 and Enhanced Movement Control Order lockdowns will exacerbate the stress on the entire supply chain.
“Many retailers are on the brink of collapse as they are unable to generate any revenue to cover escalating monthly obligations such as rentals, salaries and debts, with the prospect of being taken to court by creditors,” the association stated, adding many businesses are already suffering cashflow deficits.
After making maximum cost reductions internally, most merchants are now relying solely on their savings and loans.
“Without consistent monthly revenue coming in, any form of savings will be depleted eventually,” it said.
MRCA added that the previous financial support from the government has been inadequate to keep many in the sector afloat.
MRCA also expressed concern over the government’s separation of important and non-essential industries, believing all firms are intertwined in some way and cannot thrive on their own.
“With the vaccination ramp up and the strict adherence to SOPs, retailers should not be unduly “penalised” with the harsh business restrictions,” the sector mouthpiece stated.
To-date, about 68% of the country’s adult population has received the first dose of Covid-19 based vaccine while 55.8% of individuals of the Klang Valley have completed both doses.
“Therefore, we urge the government to consider reopening the trade for those who have received full vaccination.”
MRCA said 98% of new Covid-19 cases reported were of categories one and two involving asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients respectively.
“With the retail industry contributing 34.6% of Malaysia’s GDP in 2018, we hope the government will offer more legal and financial support to protect retail businesses from untimely closure,” it added.