PETALING JAYA: The Prime Minister’s announcement that IT retailers will be allowed to operate in the Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan was welcomed though some felt support services should be allowed to operate immediately.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said reopening the economy in stages is essential for the public to have continued access to vital services like the Internet, telecommunication.
This, it said, would prevent technical issues from cropping up that would hamper those services.
In the meanwhile, the public could rely on online outlets to get what they needed to work from home (WFH) or for home-based teaching and learning (PdPR).
Various programmes have been developed under the National Digital Network (Jendela) like Pakej, it said, which will increase collection and delivery centres throughout the country.
This will ensure delivery of goods can be carried out in a contactless manner, ensuring that the public is safe, it added.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the country’s lead agency in digital transformation, is optimistic of the digital economy’s prospects following the announcement of the National Recovery Plan.
It said accelerating the digital transformation of the nation and strengthening its programmes will play a crucial role in the country’s exit strategy.
The National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom) chairman Danny Lee said IT is an important enabler in ensuring other businesses operate with minimal disruptions.
“This calls for IT support and services to be made available during any lockdown, especially onsite services such as computer service centres,” he said.
Pikom also hoped the Program Immunisasi Industri Covid-19 Kerjasama Awam-Swasta (Pikas) would be extended to the IT sector, he added.
While online sales have boomed and its members are enjoying brisk sales, reopening physical retail stores will help contribute to their revenue, he added.
Muhammad Syafie, the manager of a laptop repair shop in Puchong, said, “The announcement was good news not just for business owners but everyone as well because at least we get a sense of how to overcome this lockdown situation.
"However, I feel that businesses that offer computer-related services to people should be allowed to open earlier as there are more people working and studying from home now."
He was getting more enquiries from users who complained about not being able to work or study properly at home due to device issues, the most common being hardware-related problems which required longer time to repair.
Currently, Muhmammad Syafie could only offer repairs services by using a courier to pick up the device though this is limited to those within his area.
Najwa Alia, the owner of a computer shop in Jasin, Melaka, also started offering repair services via delivery as product sales had dipped.
"Right now, we're just thinking of how we can cover our overhead cost. Repair services also seem to be what most people need right now but some customers are not confident about sending items through delivery for repairs.
“I think it's time to consider businesses offering repairs as essential services as most people need technical support and can't afford to wait or purchase new devices," she said.
According to a staff of IT retailer Compuzone, who only wanted to be known as Ah Wai, the outlet was currently operating as a delivery-only business.
"I'm not sure how I feel about the announcement as there are a number of targets to reach," he said, adding that customers facing device issues had to wait until the lockdown was over for support.
Meanwhile, marketing manager Maggie Kamto said she had to resort to working on her smartphone after her laptop stopped working.
She had attempted to send it to the service centre, but was informed that all will remain closed during the lockdown.
Meanwhile Nga, a computer shop owner in Subang Jaya, hoped the vaccination rate in Selangor would pick up as it’s one of the criteria for entering Phase Two.
"A lot of business owners like myself are suffering due to the inconsistent SOPs. I don't agree that more businesses can only open if a certain vaccination target has been met because I feel the process has been slow," he said.