The extension of the movement control order, albeit with a tightening of the current standard operating procedure, will allow all sectors of the economy to be reopened, sources say.
“All economic sectors will be opened, including retail, as we have been informed by trade associations that the current MCO has affected small businesses and SMEs more adversely than the first MCO last March.
“The ministries in charge of businesses have given their input and stated that many small businesses, which comprise a major part of the Malaysian economy, cannot continue as it is without some kind of breathing space, ” said a source.
As for implementation of the stricter SOP in economic sectors, another source said the National Security Council (NSC) has yet to discuss beefing up current security forces.
“The police are at the forefront of ensuring that people follow the SOP set under the MCO.
“However, the use of more army personnel or volunteer reserves such as Rela members, were not discussed by the NSC today (yesterday), ” said the source.
Another source said the NSC also decided that many of the conditions imposed under the current MCO would be looked at “case by case”.
“For now, we are maintaining all the SOP and tightening them as most of the reports gathered said the majority of clusters were caused by a lax in the SOP.
“However, should there be a need for us to relax the SOP for the sake of an emergency, the authorities will study it and we will then decide, ” said the source.
Previously, the MCO did not allow some businesses which could spread infections, such as hair salons and certain retailers, to open for business..
It is understood that the extended MCO from Feb 5 to 18 will allow all business sectors to be reopened while maintaining strictly to the SOP and, if necessary, to utilise personal protective equipment.
Source: The Star