Travel restrictions crippling retailers, not helping economy

PETALING JAYA: The retail industry is appealing for travel restrictions to be lifted to help keep it afloat.

Malaysian Retail Association president Tan Sri William Cheng said retail was a critical pillar of the national economy and the restrictions were not helpful at all.

“We are in total agreement and support the government’s focus on economic recovery. It is spot-on and timely, as most of the businesses are already treading on a razor-thin lifeline.

“With the SOP in place and the public observing them responsibly, interstate and cross border travel should re-open for a full swing effect, ” he said yesterday.

Cheng said given the international travel restrictions and the fear of Covid-19 infections, a comprehensive roadmap with a set timeline for recovery should be drawn up.

“We suggest a special committee comprising relevant government officials and the private sector be set up as a watchgroup to monitor the road to recovery, ” he said.

With many yearning to travel, he said domestic tourism offered a way to support and stimulate the local economy.

“There is a need to create green corridors, which is a viable strategy that will allow travel between states in order for domestic tourism to resume by following strict health protocols.

“The government has, with the business community’s engagement, put in place a comprehensive SOP after one year of reviewing and making improvements and this must be stringently enforced.

“The problem we are facing today is the enforcement team’s varying interpretation of the SOP, resulting in the public and businesses being unfairly penalised. Proper briefings for enforcement officers must be done, ” he said.

Cheng also said retail workers should be recognised as the next group of important frontliners to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

“It will not only give confidence to our retail staff, but also be a great assurance to customers and public at large that the employees’ well-being is safeguarded and protected, ” he added.

Huazong president Tan Sri Goh Tian Chuan believed that it was a matter of time that life would return to normal for Malaysians with the national vaccination plan in progress.

He urged Malaysians to continue giving their full support and cooperation, especially to the vaccination programme and to fully comply with the SOP to enable a speedy economic recovery.

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