‘Govt going in the right direction’

More shops at Jalan TAR are reopen during the MCO 2.0 observation on Wednesday. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: With economic recovery and balancing lives and livelihood as the utmost national priority, business groups say Putrajaya has done well so far in charting the right course for the country.

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said it was crucial to raise confidence levels among employers, employees and consumers.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said he was hopeful that full confidence would return with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme having started last month.

He called for travel restrictions to be lifted in stages for companies to go back to 100% normalcy and for the economy to reflect the projected growth by year-end.

“Such restrictions make it difficult for economic rebuilding, ” he said, reminding all to adhere to the SOP.

Although the government’s measures were helpful in restoring confidence, Shamsuddin urged for more coordination between the various agencies to avoid confusion.

In his “Setahun Malaysia Prihatin” address on Monday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government’s top focus now was to ensure economic recovery efforts were in full swing.

Pledging his full commitment, the Prime Minister said his Perikatan Nasional administration would continue to be “Prihatin Rakyat” as it managed the Covid-19 pandemic.

While this was being done, he said economic activities would continue to keep things going.

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said economic recovery was crucial as people looked to resume their daily routines.

“Temporary shutdowns are okay, but not for the long term, ” he said, adding that the wait to achieve herd immunity would take time.

As getting back to life before the pandemic would be a tall order, he suggested that the government come up with a joint SOP with the private sector’s input, and introduce a campaign to encourage vaccinations.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) SME committee chairman Koong Lin Loong said the government should recreate a business-friendly environment to restore the faith of local businesses and foreign investors.

“We should avoid micromanagement but start looking at the macro environment and our enterprises, the big projects, government procurement and public delivery to restore business confidence.

“For that, we need a good, clear and systematic SOP for all businesses to follow, ” he said, adding that the economy should be opened up without any rise in Covid-19 cases.

Koong said the government should be more prepared for the next course of action as the national economy gradually recovered, citing visa approvals, green lane and relevant SOP for travellers when the borders reopen.

“Our economy will lose out a lot if it reopens only after herd immunity is achieved, ” he said.

Backing the government’s efforts and immunisation programme, Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) president Shirley Tay said a holistic plan was needed to support the business ecosystem during this transition period.

She said the reality is that businesses were badly affected with many facing cash flow problems.

“The government should exercise some degree of commercial pragmatism, as health and economic prosperity are inextricably intertwined.

‘”One would be less meaningful without the other.

“Hence, the government plays an important role in striking that balance, ” she said.

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