The government will not completely close the economic sector even when implementing the movement control order (MCO) as this would adversely affect petty traders, says Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said the government had decided on this to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods despite calls from various quarters to shut down the economic sector to curb the spike in Covid-19 cases.
“I have received many WhatsApp messages from petty traders and roadside traders saying it would be very tough for them if they are not allowed to operate during the MCO period.
“Some of them said they had depleted their savings to keep their families going. Although we allow stall operators to do takeaway service, their income has dropped by 50%,” he told reporters after inspecting a roadblock at the Gombak toll plaza today.
Ismail added that the government has to protect the economic interests of the poor, especially the B40 group.
He said while it is important to protect the people from Covid-19, the government also has to ensure that they can earn a living.
“We do not want people to die of Covid-19 but we also do not want them to die of starvation or to go without any income to support their family.
“Just imagine what would happen if their stalls had to be closed for two weeks, then another two weeks. It would definitely have a big impact on them as they are living from hand to mouth,” he added.
Ismail said there should be a balance between protecting economic interests and the people’s health to ensure that the nation’s economic revenue remains stable even as the country is fighting the pandemic.
Nevertheless, he reminded the people to always abide by the SOPs to break the chain of infection.