PETALING JAYA: It is a false distinction to classify sectors as essential or non-essential as everyone needs to earn a living, said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan).
The former finance minister also said the letters of approval issued by the International Trade and Industry ministry (Miti) should also be phased out.
He urged the government to consider using targeted movement restrictions rather than blanket lockdowns.
“The management of Covid-19 and the plan to restore the economy to normalcy should be run concurrently.
“The plan to open the economy in stages should see the phasing out of the classification of economic sectors as essential or non-essential, because this is a false distinction.
“All businesses are important because everyone wants to eke out a living.
“There should also be the cancellation of Miti approval letters, which are being abused,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (July 29).
He added that economic stimulus packages by the government should include more cash aid, instead of loan facilities and non-cash incentives.
“The SME Association also revealed that 100,000 SMEs have shuttered in the last year, and another 50,000 is at the risk of closing down this year.
“The contribution of the SMEs to the GDP has shrunk by 7.3% in the year 2020, which is even higher than the decrease of 4.6% among non-SMEs,” he said, adding that 98% of businesses in Malaysia are SMEs.
He also asked the government to clarify its total amount of debt and liabilities, claiming that the forecasted debt and liabilities amount will exceed RM1.3tril.