Forget the phases, just open businesses, bosses tell Putrajaya

PETALING JAYA: Business owners have urged Putrajaya to open all economic sectors and forgo its earlier plans to use different phases under the national recovery plan (NRP) as indicators to ease restrictions.

This comes as the Klang Valley, the heartbeat of the country’s economy, remains under lockdown in Phase 1 since June 1 while other smaller states have moved on to Phase 2 and even Phase 3.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) president Syed Hussain Syed Husman said the government should instead zoom in, isolate and treat those in red zones.

“The authorities should adopt a combined strategy of rapid vaccination and open businesses with strict SOPs.

“Employers are committed to abide by all SOPs and MEF even supports tougher action against errant employers,” he said in a statement.

Syed Hussain said there was no point in encouraging vaccinations when employers and employees are suffering economically.

“The single strategy of mass vaccinations before opening the economy has not worked,” he said, adding that the combined strategy might work better.

He also said MEF welcomed the easing of Phase 1 restrictions as announced by senior minister Hishammuddin Hussein who announced yesterday that Putrajaya was mulling allowing night markets and parks to open even in Phase 1 states.

Another possibility was the easing of SOPs for non-risky sectors and activities, such as cycling and dine-in, for individuals who have been fully vaccinated.

Syed Hussain said employers under Phase 1 are eagerly waiting for the restrictions to be eased.

“The lockdowns have devastated the retail industry and SMEs. Barbers, locksmiths, car wash owners, saloons and gift shops are among those who still continue to suffer,” he added.

He said the prolonged lockdown has failed to curb infections and, due to that, the government needs to change strategy to ease the suffering of business owners.

States and territories still in Phase 1 are Kedah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.

Those under Phase 2 are Penang, Perak, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu and Sabah while Perlis, Labuan and parts of Sarawak have transitioned to Phase 3. – FMT

Kredit foto: Reuters

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