Pragmatic exit strategy crucial to regain Malaysia’s economic recovery

THE EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAM Malaysia) has cautiously welcomes the Government’s decision to implement a National Recovery Plan (NRP) in preparation for the country to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic at a reasonable time.

Considering the timeline provided by Prime Minister Tan Sri Mahiaddin Yassin, the chamber is concerned that the plan unnecessarily extends the full movement control order (FMCO) with far-reaching implications.

“The current NRP will continue to hinder Malaysia’s economic recovery and social sustainability for at least 12 weeks followed by long-lasting repercussions,” EUROCHAM Malaysia pointed out in a statement.

Oliver Roche

“In other words, the current lockdown can and should only be a temporary measure and should be thoroughly reviewed by the end-June 2021.”

With the above in mind, EUROCHAM Malaysia said it has been made aware of a decline in Malaysia’s reputation as a reliable partner in the international supply chain with companies being unable to fulfill orders or shifting production temporarily to other factory sites outside of Malaysia.

“Similarly, we notice a growing trend among international businesses delaying foreign direct investment (FDI) decisions to a later time due to the ongoing and repeated decision to lockdown,” the chamber lamented.

In the regard, EUROCHAM Malaysia chairman Oliver Roche expressed strong belief that there is a dire need for a pragmatic exit strategy for the FMCO to expedite the country’s economic recovery.

“The just announced NRP offers more certainty for investors and local businesses, but also falls short of expectations,” he observed. “We are concerned that the timeline and milestones given are too conservative.”

To maintain investor confidence and survival for local and foreign businesses alike, he stressed that it is essential to provide clear communication, consistent rules, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines.

Equally important, he insisted that there is a need to accelerate the vaccination programme further to achieve herd immunity.

“We suggest incentivising more general practitioners and private clinics to join the programme as well as widen the participation as much as possible,” he noted.

“We propose to shift the goalpost to vaccinate 20% of adult population with at least one shot by end-June and the start opening some sectors with a low-risk profile.” – June 16, 2021

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