The SOPs released earlier will remain in place, as will activities stated in the 'positive/negative list' shared by the National Security Council.

Malaysia will extend the total lockdown (also known as MCO 3.0) for two weeks starting tomorrow (15 June 2021) and up till 28 June, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced. 

In a statement on Friday (11 June), cited by Bernama, the minister said the decision for this extension came based on recommendations by the Ministry of Health, taking into account that the number of daily COVID-19 cases as of Friday stood high at over 5,000 a day. The average number of new cases, he added, stood at 6,871 as of Thursday.

According to Bernama, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri also highlighted that during this extension, the previously released set of SOPs for the manufacturing, business and industrial sector, as well as activities on the positive/negative list, will remain in place.

With no changes to this list and set of SOPs, the minister hopes "there would be no more confusion on the SOP enforcement", Bernama reported.

In line with this, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has noted that while the extension was "necessary" and "unavoidable", "the government must also ensure effective measures are in place to support affected employers, especially SMEs and micro-enterprises."

In a statement on Friday, MEF President Dato Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman J.P said: "The lockdown has severely impacted business and the situation on the ground is that many SMEs and micro-enterprises are at a breaking point.

"We hope the government would be able to urgently address the issues faced by employers to ensure sustainability and at the same time assist the government to stabilise the labour market."

Thus, Dr Syed Hussain shared the following measures that "can be implemented quickly" in support of employers:

  • Enhancement to the PEMERKASA+ stimulus package with a further allocation of at least RM40bn.
  • Expansion to the scope of moratorium to include the M40 group and all businesses covering all loans, including overdrafts, mortgages, vehicle loans and credit cards. "The moratorium should be granted automatically for six months until end 2021 at 0% interest."

He added: "We also urge the government to take immediate action to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and not compromise with groups or individuals who do not follow the SOPs. The majority cannot be made to suffer because of the few who break the rules.

"We strongly support the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme and the government should do all that is necessary to achieve herd immunity. We must make sure that the nation is not only physically healthy but mentally too."

Photo / 123RF

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