KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The Federation of Malaysian Business Associations (FMBA) has expressed its support of a stricter movement control order (MCO), stressing the extremity of Covid-19 containment measures imposed by the federal government nationwide was more crucial to saving lives than making profits.
In perhaps what is an unexpected response to the recently announced MCO, FMBA said lives must take precedence in the ‘lives vs livelihoods’ debate, particularly in light of the number of Covid-19 cases recorded daily over the past few weeks.
“We support the government to issue stricter and more complete nationwide lockdowns to ensure we break the chain of infection.
“We are ready to bite the bullet for the sake of the nation and the people.
“Extreme moments like this call for extreme actions. We can rebuild our economy, our financial institutions, our social standing — but we cannot afford to lose our lives,” the coalition, which represents 262 business associations and chambers of commerce comprising 950,000 companies across all sectors, said in a statement.
This comes after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Monday that Malaysia will enter yet another nationwide MCO beginning today until June 7 necessitated by rapidly rising Covid-19 case numbers.
However, FMBA said the tightened restrictions announced must be accompanied by financial relief programmes and the government must be accountable for such unprecedented containment measures.
“This unprecedented yielding of position however comes with a caveat — the government must stand up and be ready to be counted,” it said, adding that the government should use granular data within government agencies to implement data-driven decisions and not on an ad hoc basis.
On providing safety nets for businesses, the group said the government could offer soft loans and extend the wage subsidy programme to all economic sectors except those in essential services until the end of the year.
The group also said a freeze on recurring costs until next year would help non-essential businesses stay afloat, such as EPF, Socso and EIS contributions for employees, as well as utility expenditure discounts on electricity, telecommunications and broadband.
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