Reports by ASHLEY TANG, MARTIN CARVALHO, FARIK ZOLKEPLI, LIEW JIA XIAN and GERARD GIMINO
PETALING JAYA: There should be uniformed standard operating procedure for all economic sectors to reopen during the recovery period, says Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai.
“Approval letters should also be done away with but should be based on vaccination rate and a reliance on digital vaccination certification,” he said.
He called for a standard SOP for all, adding that a lack of uniformity would be a hindrance to putting the nation’s economy back on track for recovery.
“The SOP must have credibility, consistency, clarity and certainty. No more U-turns or shifting of the goal posts,” he said at the virtual National Recovery Summit yesterday.
Soh also said feasible government policies should be in sync with the needs of the private sector.
However, he acknowledged that the move to allow essential services to operate during the pandemic had resulted in improvement in the economic data.
“For example, the manufacturing sector saw positive growth of 3% for the first quarter of 2020 and continued to grow to 6% in the same period this year.
“The second quarter of this year saw 26.6% growth but we have yet to see the figures for the third quarter,” he said.
Soh dispelled public misconception that factory and workplace clusters had contributed to the high number of infections.
These infections, he said, were brought into the workplace and factories, and were not the originating source.
As at Sept 7, Soh said 935,123 employees had received their first vaccine dose under the Public-Private Partnership Industrial Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pikas), while over 722,000 were fully vaccinated.
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia’s president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh suggested the creation of green bubbles for the medical tourism sector as a precursor to the reopening of the tourism sector to foreign visitors.
The move, he said, would build foreign investors’ confidence to return to the country.
He said the present regulations for medical tourists were too restrictive, citing that patients had to charter special flights for the purpose.The medical tourism sector generated close to RM1bil in revenue in 2019 and was expected to increase last year had it not been for the global pandemic last year.
Health Ministry deputy director-general (research and technical support) Datuk Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim said the ministry was looking to use technological and innovative devices during the post-pandemic recovery period.
This includes the use of locally manufactured tracking devices for non-life-threatening Covid-19 patients who are under home quarantine.
The summit was jointly organised by the National Recovery Council, Economic Club of Kuala Lumpur and the KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific.