KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — The International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) has welcomed Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement to allow almost all economic sectors to resume operations starting Monday.
Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the reopening of the economic sectors would contribute to the gross domestic product growth, domestic and foreign direct investment, better export prospects, and the continuity of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as job sustainability.
“The government’s decisions will have a positive impact on the country’s economy and the well-being of the people. If the government does not take this step, there will be a decline in the nation’s income, economic growth will stagnate while businesses, as well as individual income, will be affected, in fact, most businesses will have to close down.
“The Prime Minister has stressed if the Movement Control Order (MCO) continues for another month, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will record a loss of RM35 billion. The total loss will amount to RM98 billion.
“The decrease in the value of export in the manufacturing sector alone is estimated at RM32 billion for every two weeks of the MCO,” he said in a statement today.
Mohamed Azmin said the government made the decision after careful, cautious and responsible deliberations based on the data and studies on the country’s current health and economic situation.
Consideration was also made based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) benchmark of security, movement control, the capability of the health system, ability to protect high-risk individuals, adopt new normal and the capability to implement preventive measures in the community, he said.
The government said Mohamed Azmin, hoped with the opening of these economic sectors, the business community, in particular, the SMEs would be able to revive their business, strengthen cash flow, rebuild the supply chain and address the risk of losing the export market (reshoring).
“Currently, the SMEs contributed 66% of the workforce in Malaysia, so the government’s actions will surely guarantee continued employment and workers income,” he said. In implementing the economic recovery strategy, the business community need to adapt to new practices.
For companies that are heavily dependent on labour, they need to reduce their dependence and focus more on automation and the use of technology said Mohamed Azmin.
“In addition, the digitisation process should also be accelerated to reduce human contact within business premises. Digitisation is not another option but a necessity for long-term business continuity.
“Over the past few months, the use of digital communications has helped to ease the way people communicate, it has helped transform the country into a digital economy and in addition, organisations have been able to tap into the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), ” he said.
For companies that have to rely on labour, Mohamed Azmin urged them not to neglect workers protection, including their health, hygiene and safety issues. Employers and workers are also encouraged to download MySejahtera and Mytrace applications for contact tracing, he said.
The economic sector which will start operating this coming Monday and the minister said, it must comply with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) set for each industry and reminded that failure to comply is an offence and may be subject to legal action.
“It should be emphasised, the government will not hesitate to implement the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) in the event of a sudden spike of new cases in any area,” he said.
To ensure effective compliance with the SOP, the federal and state enforcement agencies will implement comprehensive and stringent enforcement.
Mohamed Azmin said this effort will need to involve ‘self-enforcement’ by each ministry and also ‘community enforcement’ to ensure the health and safety of the people.
“The government hopes everyone including entrepreneurs and employers allowed to operate will be able to adapt to new normals, especially in complying with social distancing, personal hygiene at workplaces as well guidelines which are set from time to time,” he added.