KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) wants the government to provide more clarity on the details on the National Recovery Plan (NRP), especially for companies in the non-essential sectors.
MEF President Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said on Friday there was great concern the four-stage approach has multiple effects on both large and small companies, and particularly devastating to those not allowed to operate during the lockdown.
He pointed out that having to remain in lockdown for another 12 weeks would drastically impact most businesses across all industrial sectors and lead to increased unemployment, retrenchments, loan defaults, and bankruptcy.
The lockdown came into effect on June 1 for an initial two weeks until June 14 but due to the high Covid-19 infection rates, it was extended until June 28.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin revealed the NRP, which detailed a four-phase exit strategy from the Covid-19 crisis that tentatively lasts until the end of 2021.
The recovery plan also outlines three targeted indicators, namely, the average daily new infections, capacity of healthcare system/intensive care unit bed utilisation, and percentage of population that received two doses of vaccines, under each phase before further reopening of economic and social sectors are allowed.
Syed Hussain said the government has a plan but in maintaining the delicate balance between saving lives and livelihoods, the lockdown should not be extended unnecessarily as this has severe consequences on Malaysia’s economy, ” he said.
Syed Hussain also said while the government is providing financial support to bear the high cost of lockdown, the MEF wanted more clarity and each stage of the NRP needs to be broken down and ironed out by all stakeholders including the micro enterprises.
“Getting the stakeholders involved is critical to get buy-in as the key to a successful plan is in its execution.
“We need the commitment of all stakeholders to put in their effort to make this a success and for this to happen the government must open up for dialogue to hear from all stakeholders to find out their issues at every stage of the NRP.
“Only by having such granularity that we can examine the issues and make specific, targeted adjustments to improve the results.
“This needs to be done for all the four phases as having dialogue with the relevant stakeholders would allow us to focus on revitalising the economy and bring stability to all.”
Syed Hussain cautioned that if the lockdown scenario persists, it would set back the nation’s recovery even further with severe long-term consequences.
“Already the prolonged lockdown had caused production for international supply chain to temporarily move away from Malaysia as companies were unable to fulfil orders.
“Potential investors have also delayed making commitments due to the uncertainties, ” he added.
He said only by working together can all parties make it relevant and successful or all stakeholders.
Each of the four-phase NRP would last about two months. Phase 3 would see the reopening social sectors, including schools beginning in September, while the reopening of all economic sectors and lifting of restrictions on interstate travel is expected in Phase 4.