PETALING JAYA: As the Klang Valley inches closer to Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), local businesses and restaurant owners have expressed relief and said all precaution must be taken in order to prevent another surge in Covid-19 cases.
SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said business owners were ready to move to Phase Two of the NRP, as 89.5% of the Klang Valley population have received their complete vaccination, which is close to the herd immunity requirement.
“We hope the government can open up all sectors and ensure strict SOP enforcement,” he added.
Kang said there isn’t a need for local businesses to apply for an operating letter from the International Trade and Industry Ministry any more.
Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said members remained cautious although restrictions have been eased by the authorities.
He advised all of its members to get their employees fully vaccinated before opening their restaurants.
According to him, 90% of workers at mamak restaurants in the Klang Valley have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but said the numbers were lower in other states such as Penang, Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu.
“We are also cooperating closely with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to get more staff vaccinated,” he said.
“Although we had repeatedly called to allow us to reopen, we will now take full responsibility and follow all the standard operating procedures. We will not allow customers to simply dine-in at our shops,” he added.
Currently, dine-ins are now allowed for individuals who have completed their vaccination in states currently under Phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).
The criteria for being fully vaccinated include having completed 14 days after receiving the second dose of the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac) and 28 days for single-dose vaccines (Johnson & Johnson and CanSino).
Sate Famili branch manager Syarafiq Abd Samad, who runs a shop at Meru in Klang, was delighted over the prospect of the Klang Valley moving into Phase Two of the NRP, but expressed concerns over unvaccinated individuals.
“Not everyone is vaccinated and some people lie about their vaccination status, that is why we are not allowing dine-ins yet,” he said.
Malaysia-Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors Association president Wong Teu Hoon said there are not many customers as the daily Covid-19 cases remained in the high five figures over the past few weeks.
He said most coffee shop owners were also following the SOP and preferred to have their workers fully vaccinated.
“It is still slow but we will get there. Many staff members have only received their first dose,” he said.
Federal Hawkers and Petty Traders Association president Datuk Seri Rosli Sulaiman said the DBKL should come up with a ruling that allows only fully vaccinated individuals to operate at designated premises, in order to boost public confidence.
“Some 80% of us in the Klang Valley are already fully vaccinated, and authorities can come up with a ruling that only allows those who are fully vaccinated to open their businesses.
“I had gone to the ground to check in some areas including in Chow Kit road, but it will help if more businesses are fully vaccinated. It will be good for all stakeholders,” he added.
National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) secretary-general Michael Chai added that businesses were definitely eager to go back to normalcy under new norms.
Similar views were expressed by Malaysian Federation of Malay Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations secretary-general Mohamed Zamri Mohammed, who said many petty traders and hawkers have been adversely affected since the pandemic which began in March last year.
“For small traders, they depend on daily wages. If they are not allowed to operate, then they would have no income,” he added.
While welcoming Phase Two of the NRP, Mohamed said traders and Malaysians themselves must abide by SOP at all times in order to prevent another outbreak.
“Even though some of us are vaccinated, we still can cause outbreaks of the virus. So we must each play our part,” he added.
A number of states are under Phase Two and beyond of the NRP. Those still in Phase One of the NRP are Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Johor, Malacca and Putrajaya.
States that are Phase Two are allowed to have more business sectors operate and for longer hours compared with those businesses in states under Phase One.
A number of services were also permitted for people who have been fully vaccinated, such as dining in at restaurants.