Malaysia is now in the third phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO) for the period 15- 28 April (MCO 1 & 2 during 18 March to 14 April) to contain the COVID 19 outbreak.
We should start to plan the MCO’s exit strategy to ensure a smooth transition towards a normalcy of economy and business.
To this end, The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia’s (ACCCIM) think-tank, Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC) has conducted a Quick-Take Survey during 13 – 21 April 2020 to solicit feedback from business community on the preparation of Post- MCO’s Exit Strategy and also outlines medium-and long-term measures to ensure an economic revival and business sustainability.
ACCCIM’s President, Tan Sri Datuk Ter Leong Yap announced that close to half of total companies (916) surveyed have indicated that they need more than six months to recover their business.
Tan Sri Datuk Ter said that while the stabilisation and recovery journey ahead continue to remain challenging but if we stay persevere and remain focused as well as with a timely facilitation support from Government, I believe that businesses can regain lost momentum.
Almost 90% of businesses expect a post- MCO environment with conditions remaining in place pertaining to safe distancing, wearing masks, sanitisation as well as other counteract measures that are critical to keep the public safe. Places like Government offices and municipal councils, professional services, restaurants and eating places have the highest percentage of respondents indicating to allow operating with conditions.
According to Tan Sri Datuk Ter, it is pleased to note that 83.9% agreed to have the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), an indication of businesses’ strong commitment to protect workers’ and customers’ health. 76.2% of respondents are well prepared to comply with the SOP though some small and micro enterprises have a low preparation.
Businesses cited top three common issues and challenges encountered to comply with the SOP are (i) Incurred an additional health prevention cost; (ii) Some workplace and factory’s layout are not suited for at least 1-meter safe distancing; and (iii) Employees worry about their health safety.
Tan Sri Datuk Ter urges the Government to engage with the chambers and industry associations in the preparation of the MCO’s exit strategy and to explore the best ways to facilitate business operation. Amongst these include (i) Co-sharing the cost of health prevention through a tax deduction on health cost incurred (ranked by 87.3% of respondents); set a clear and transparent SOP; consistent interpretation and enforcement of SOP (78.9%); and (iii) Continued disinfection operations nationwide to protect public health safety (75.3%).
Tan Sri Datuk Ter also opined that the Government should start preparing an Economic Revival Plan to stabilise and turn around the economy and help businesses to restart. SERC will be submitting a comprehensive Economic Revitalisation Plan to YAB Prime Minister, Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry, Minister of Finance and Minister in Prime Minister Department (Economy) this week.
As surveyed, amongst the short-, medium- and long-term measures, starting with the tabling of Budget 2021 in October include: