In order to get the economy going once more, Malaysia has allowed almost all sectors to reopen, starting on 4 May; albeit with strict adherence to certain conditions. This is part of the country’s phased approach to lifting the Movement Control Order (MCO), which began on 18 March.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the move was based on advice from the Ministry of Health, as well as data collected from ongoing research, and best practice guides by the World Health Organisation.

However, according to finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, the ultimate decision to resume operations for businesses depends entirely on the employers.

“I know that some companies are not ready, nor are they confident to open or operate their business,” Aziz said in an interview. “Although the government has allowed them do to so starting this Monday, we will not force them.

“I am sure that they are in the midst of informing the government that they will open a week after 4 May, as they need to invest in the standard operating procedures that are required by the health ministry.”

He also clarified that there will still be some businesses that will not be allowed to operate due to the potentially high risk of spreading COVID-19.

In a separate statement, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali stated that the full cooperation from various business communities will be essential in successfully reopening the economy.

He encourages businesses to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and to prioritise employee health and safety above all. Employers and employees are also encouraged to download applications for contact tracing purposes. During this time of crisis, many experts have advised companies, especially SMEs, to think in the long-term and to implement digital transformation as a strategy for recovery and post-pandemic prosperity.

“They should reduce reliance on labour, as well as accelerate the digitalisation process to reduce human contact at their premises. Digitalisation is no longer an option, but a necessity to ensure the sustainability of the business in the long-term,” said minister Ali.


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