End full lockdown immediately, MEF tells Putrajaya

KUALA LUMPUR (June 23): The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has urged the government to end the full movement control order (FMCO) with immediate effect "to stop causing further damage to the national economy and individual livelihoods".

In a statement today, MEF president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said all sectors should be allowed to operate to avoid the risk of facing “very serious economic and social implications for a long time".

“There has to be a reasonable balance between the saving of lives and livelihoods. The restrictions under the FMCO and confusion over the SOPs (standard operating procedures) are killing businesses with many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and microenterprises severely impacted," he said.

Citing reports from SMEs, manufacturers, retail sectors and bumiputera entrepreneurs, Syed Hussain said if the full lockdown remains enforced, companies in the non-essential sectors would not be able to survive for much longer.

“Some of the microenterprises and SMEs are suffering to a level beyond recovery and need urgent help.

“There comes a time when livelihoods must take priority as many people depend on their business. Not only the microenterprises and SMEs, but even the large companies need to operate to survive to meet overhead costs.

“The MEF appeals to the government to end the FMCO and focus on livelihood priorities now,” he said.

Syed Hussain also noted that companies allowed to operate are also facing serious issues as they depend on their supply chain, but many of those in the supply chain are not allowed to operate.

“Most of all, the implications extend beyond employers to the ordinary man on the street who needs to put food on the table and meet his basic commitments.

“We need to open up and provide financial aid quick,” he cautioned.

Syed Hussain said the MEF supports the National Covid-19  Immunisation Programme, and encourages employees and their families to be inoculated.

However, he said the MEF had heard from its employees that many of their parents aged above 60 years were still waiting for appointments, and in some cases had yet to receive any date for an appointment.

“We suggest that all parents above 60 years be given automatic approval to be vaccinated at vaccine centres under the senior citizen group,” he said.

Syed Hussain also concurred with the government about the possibility of the Covid-19 becoming endemic, which would result in Malaysians having to learn to live with it in the long term, like with the flu and dengue.

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