PETALING JAYA (May 21): While supporting the implementation of full Movement Control Order (MCO) for national security, Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) stressed that the public and private sectors need to work hand in hand to ensure business survival for long-term job security instead of one-off subsidies to individuals.

In a media statement today, the association believes a full MCO similar to MCO 1.0 for a specific period is necessary to break the chain and to curb the wave driven by more infectious Covid-19 variants.

Nevertheless, business survival and job security shouldn’t be neglected, stressed PAM president Datuk Ar. Ezumi Harzani Ismail (pictured).

PAM also suggested 10 business survival measures for the public and private sectors for reference, to ensure businesses could still continue running after the country has flattened the Covid-19 curve.

In its proposed ‘Economic Stand Still’ model, the association suggested banks and financial institutions as well as utility service providers to offer six-month loan repayment moratoriums and utility bill deferments respectively to reduce operational cost for businesses and individual expenses.

PAM also noted that a lateral cost-sharing policy – offering a 25% reduction in business property rentals, residential property rentals, and private employees' and public servants' wages – could help lessen the burden of business owners and wage earners.

To encourage people to stay at home, PAM proposed residential properties' utility bill rebates or discounts up to 25%, as well as subsidies for high-speed internet throughout the MCO period to help support employees working from home and students studying from home

The association added that the government should expedite vaccination programmes with tax claimable incentives for private vaccination initiatives, to speed up the nationwide vaccination process.

Meanwhile, a special grant or tax relief for digitalisation and automation of businesses to increase productivity including hardware and software, will be helpful to help business owners maintain their productivity during pandemic times.

PAM also urged the government to amend the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 as recommended by the construction industry stakeholders to include provision for General Extension of Time and Cost Sharing for Covid-19-related and preventive measure provisions.

In encouraging contactless payment or tender process, the association suggested the government should allow digital transmission of documents and online payment transactions, including submission of tender, application for plan approval, submission of reports, plan fee payment, development charges, etc.

Other suggestions included allowing virtual meetings and discussions with and among local authorities and regulators without the need to be physically present and/or queuing at the service counters, and to ensure continuity of statutory approval processes without delay.

PAM urged the authorities to allow selected essential service providers which are critical for construction, maintenance and repair works to continue to prevent the risk to the latter's safety and health.

“Subsequent to the MCO, selected economic sectors with low-risk business activities may gradually resume while others may need to remain with a combination of remote and on-site working for a longer period.

"We anticipate that a full MCO, coupled with expedient vaccination rollout, will be able to curb the spread of Covid-19 and enable us to begin the transition towards normalcy and herd immunity,” said the statement.

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