Stay on the low to get through hard times

  • Letters
  • Wednesday, 08 Jul 2020

SUSPENDED animation is the temporary cessation of most vital functions of a living thing without leading to death, as in a hibernating animal or dormant seed. Some mammals hibernate over winter to survive and certain seeds can delay germination for more than 50 years.

One of the most interesting aquatic animals must surely be the African lungfish that can sleep out of water for three to five years without any sustenance, only to wake up after heavy rain when water floods their burrows. This has allowed them to survive for 400 million years.

Human beings have much to learn from nature, especially now on the survival of their business and retention of jobs. With Malaysia now in the recovery movement control order (MCO) phase until August 31, many business owners are eager to get back on their feet after suffering loss of income while continuing to bear overheads such as salaries, rentals, utilities and depreciation.

Most industries are expected to recover slowly in the second half of this year with hygiene, safety and security protocols in place, but travel agents and tour operators will have to wait much longer.

Those who are optimistic that their business will fully recover by next year have taken loans or injected capital to tide over this year. Tour bus operators have been vocal in asking for a six-month moratorium on bus leasing, confident that they could start their repayments thereafter.

And then there are those who have either closed or scaled down their travel and tour business, preferring to wait until the good times are back. They are as clever as the lungfish by conserving what they have and would make a triumphant return.

On Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin disclosed that the Economic Action Council (EAC) had predicted that the local tourism industry will need four years to recover from the effects of Covid-19. He also said that as a major contributor to the country’s coffers, with about RM80bil, all hands must be on deck to help the sector recover as quickly as possible, and new players would be coming in.

I have been urging travel agents and tour operators to surrender instead of allowing their business to slowly bleed to death by carrying on regardless.

With applications for Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) now frozen until end of the year, the perception is that Malaysia is no longer welcoming foreigners as before and that influx of tourists would have to play second fiddle to the health of the local citizens.

But things will quickly change when a highly effective treatment or vaccine is found for Covid-19. It is well known that a strategic retreat in a battle can win a war.

And as the lungfish and dinosaurs have proven, it is not the strongest of the species that survives but the one that is most adaptable to change.



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