A million businesses say ‘no’ to domestic travel ban

03-Mar-2021 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 5:02 AM Print This Post

A coalition of nearly one million businesses has warned that any plans to prolong the ban on domestic travel will only kill more businesses off.

Calling for targeted enhanced movement control orders (EMCOs) in areas which have clusters of Covid-19 cases, the federation of 262 business associations and chambers of commerce also hoped to see the government employ strategies based on empirical data to better manage the pandemic.

“If you have gangrene in one leg, you only amputate that leg,” said Business Survival Group adviser Ameer Ali Mydin at a press conference here today.

“The patient will survive. Don’t kill the patient. Like that patient, businesses have to survive. There are a lot of shops closed and many more will be closed.

“For us, the best (approach) is to lock down areas where there are cases,” added the managing director of the Mydin hypermarket chain.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said last week that the ban on inter-district and interstate travel may remain until at least 70 percent of the population had been vaccinated from Covid-19, which can only be achieved by February 2022 according to the government’s vaccination plan.

Businesses across the country have been badly hit by the movement restrictions stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Business Survival Group today stressing that many companies are on the verge of collapse.

Warning that the economy would continue to suffer if travel restrictions are not lifted, Ameer also wanted the government to rethink its definition of “essential” sectors.

“For the person who is operating that business, it’s essential,” said Ameer.

“We want the government to rethink their approach,” he said, going on to cite a recent survey by a public health expert who said shutting down buildings and offices to carry out sanitisation was “a waste of time and money”.

“I’ve sanitised many of my shops,” noted Ameer.

The Business Survival Group also called for the use of a “whole-of-government” approach to tackling the pandemic, noting that the Emergency Ordinance allows private hospitals and general practitioners to carry out 30 percent of the national immunisation programme so as to achieve herd immunity faster.

Tourism and hotel groups have also cautioned against the move to wait until 70 percent of the population is vaccinated before domestic travel is allowed, with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Malaysian Association of Hotels and Malaysian Tourist Guides Council all stating their industries could not afford to wait that long.

Noting that numerous industries and business associations have provided standard operating procedures for reopening their sectors to the government, Ameer hoped to see feedback from the relevant ministries regarding the matter.

“We need the government to tell us what we’re doing wrong (in formulating the SOPs) and we’ll try to change it,” he said.

“Don’t forget we are the rakyat. We are the ones who put you there.”

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/03/01/a million-businesses-say-no-to-domestic-travel-ban/

 

Category: Malaysia

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