Business chamber backs “self-lockdown”, urges public cooperation

IN ramping up mass vaccination, the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) welcomes support from China, which is a timely help as there are insufficient vaccines and a slow inoculation progress in Malaysia.

Malaysia is the first country to sign an inter-governmental cooperation agreement on COVID-19 vaccines with China, reaching reciprocal arrangements for vaccination.

In addition to improving vaccine production capacity, MCCC believes that based on China’s successful experience against COVID-19, Malaysia should set up a joint special committee with the country to strengthen interaction and exchanges between official agencies and pandemic experts of both nations.

“This is a critical moment for Malaysia and our Governments must bring together experts and medical talents to cooperate with the Health Ministry (MOH) to set up anti COVID-19 task force and empower them to carry out prevention and control measures, including vaccine supply and vaccination mechanism,” MCCC said, in a statement.

Meanwhile, the business chamber is also supportive of the Government’s call towards more adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) from the public and industry, to stem the pandemic.

Furthermore, MOH director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has called for Malaysians to go on a “self-lockdown” for the next two weeks, to allow the ministry to reassess and upgrade health facilities including equipment to handle COVID-19 and ICU facilities, among others.

Datuk Tan Yew Sing

“It is clear that our health system is approaching breaking point. The stricter SOP with enhanced movement control order (EMCO) implemented now will not be effective if people still underestimate the pandemic,” MCCC president Datuk Tan Yew Sing pointed out.

While having a stricter SOP will cause suffering and economic losses to the people and enterprises, Tan noted that this short-term loss is a necessary price to pay for a long-term safety.

 “The Government must strictly enforce these regulations without preference or double standards, and improve the public credibility of enforcement units.”

Provide aid to the underserved, SMEs

According to Tan, the stricter SOP will certainly impact small-and-medium industries and the underprivileged group the most. Therefore, he urged the Government to provide various kinds of assistance (including financial aid) to help them overcome present difficulties even if it means relying on a larger national debt.

What is important is that the decision-making and application of such emergency funds must be transparent, efficient and targeted, he opined.

Tan added that the successful experience of China (especially Wuhan) in handling similar challenge as they practice targeted total lockdown with full Government support (including financial aid) and secured full cooperation from the population, offered good lessons to Malaysians.

“It is absolutely important for the public to go on ‘self-lockdown’ for Malaysia to overcome this crisis,” Tan stressed.

“Referring to the countries that have successfully stemmed the pandemic, such as China and South Korea, the full cooperation of the people is the only way to succeed.” – May 23, 2021

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