SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang

Malaysia will soon allow small enterprises to resume operations soon amid a Movement Control Order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, in announcing this, however did not divulge more details, saying that an announcement would be made in due time. “Among the relaxation of rules under the movement control order (MCO) will be to allow small businesses to operate. “We will announce this along with the standard operating procedure soon,” he said during his daily press briefing on Thursday (April 30).

Small businesses and SMEs have remained closed since the MCO was enforced on March 18. Malaysia is currently under phase four of the MCO until May 12. On April 28, the government announced that economic sectors that were allowed to operate at half capacity during phases one to three of the MCO were now allowed to carry on at full capacity.

Yesterday, businesses welcomed the move, stating that they are willing to embrace the “new norms” in operations to ensure sustainability and productivity, following the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected many economic sectors.

SME Association president Datuk Michael Kang said the announcement by the government was timely as businesses were finding it difficult to operate in the limited time frame of 8am to 8pm daily. “This is because it takes a lot of time to start up and shut down machinery in factories, thus affecting operations, ” he said. Datuk Kang said many factories had standard operating procedure (SOP) that was in line with Health Ministry guidelines. “The SOP that includes social distancing, sanitising areas and taking temperatures, among others, is important because we want to ensure our workers are safe. “We hope our members will follow the SOP not just during but also post-MCO. “This will become our new norms in operations so factories and businesses need to find solutions to improve their productivity, ” he said when contacted. Datuk Kang said businesses must adhere to these new norms and follow the SOP or risk being shut down, which would be a costly affair for them.

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