PETALING JAYA (Aug 12): With ramping up of the Retail Industry Vaccination Programme, Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) calls on the government to allow all retail sectors to be reopened immediately, with a continued strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure survivability and sustainability of the retail sector.

With the easing of restrictions following announcement of the National Recovery Plan as a result of the increased vaccination rate under the National Immunisation Programme, the association is deeply concerned on the segregation of essential and non-essential sectors by the government, as all businesses are interconnected in one way or another and cannot prosper on its own. In all fairness, all business owners consider their businesses as essential, said MRCA in a press statement.

“All retail sectors have already been irreversibly damaged and any further prolonged closure of the non-essentials sectors on Phase 1 and Enhanced Movement Control Order lockdowns will adversely affect their supply chains further. Many retailers are on the brink of collapse, as they are unable to generate any revenue to cover escalating monthly obligations such as rentals, salaries and debts, with the prospect of being taken to court by creditors,” it said.

MRCA stated that most retailers are currently only relying on their own savings and loans, after implementing maximum cost reduction internally. Without consistent monthly revenue coming in, any form of savings will be depleted eventually and many are already suffering a deficit in terms of their cash flow. “With the pace of vaccination and strict adherence to SOPs, retailers should not be unduly penalised with harsh business restrictions, and as such, the government should consider reopening the trade for those who are fully vaccinated,” it said.

“The retail industry contributed 34.6% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product in 2018 and we hope the government will offer more legal and financial support to protect retail businesses from untimely closure. Due to the prolonged business closure, previous financial support from the government is grossly insufficient to keep businesses afloat," it added.

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