THE Government should adopt a consultative approach when it comes to standard operating procedures (SOP) compliance to keep COVID-19 in check, while safeguarding the economic survival of ordinary Malaysians, says Small & Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA).
“SAMENTA is concerned with the latest maximum penalty imposed on traders for operating beyond the permitted hours under the movement control order (MCO),” said its chairman for policy and government relations Datuk William Ng.
Recently, petty traders and the public have been complaining that the authorities were imposing hefty fines on them for breaching SOP, while dragging their feet in penalising VIPs for the same offence.
Last week, a burger seller in Kelantan was slapped with a RM50,000 fine for operating beyond permitted hours. The issue received much attention from both sides of the political divide.
Stressing that they are not against SOP enforcement and compliance, Ng said that authorities must understand that there are certain issues which could be dealt with without coming down hard on struggling entrepreneurs.
“As such, we suggest a stern warning be given if anyone is caught infringing for the first time, or a smaller fine instead of the maximum RM50,000 currently issued,” he added.
Meanwhile, the SME group urged all business people to take SOP compliance seriously and get their customers to do the same, by giving sufficient time needed.
“This would avoid unnecessary confrontation with the authorities and help the country in keeping our COVID-19 numbers under control,” Ng concluded. – May 2, 2021