Friday, June 18, 2021

Calls grow for stricter MCO as case numbers continue to spiral

The Malaysian Employers Federation says a more stringent MCO is needed although a full lockdown would further stifle economic recovery.

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The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) today joined calls for the implementation of a stricter movement control order (MCO) to flatten the curve of infections, particularly in Selangor which has recently been recording more than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases each day.

However, it stopped short of calling for a full lockdown, saying this would further stifle the country’s economic recovery.

“While the impact of a blanket MCO would be devastating to businesses and the economy, it is understood that there is a dire need to curb the rising number of new daily Covid-19 infections,” MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman said.

“Any decision towards this end must also take into consideration the interest of businesses and preservation of livelihoods,” he added in a statement.

Malaysia recorded 4,865 new cases today of which 1,743 were logged in Selangor. Yesterday, 4,446 cases were reported nationwide with 1,650 infections in Selangor.

The Federation of Malaysian Business Associations which represents over 260 business associations and more than 950,000 businesses recently called for a full lockdown across the country, adding however that this should be accompanied by an economic recovery stimulus package.

It said businesses were “ready to bite the bullet” as case numbers and mortality figures had been at an unprecedented high for the past few days.

The country logged its highest number of cases – 5,728 – on Jan 30, during the second instalment of MCO.

The most Covid-related deaths were recorded yesterday, with 20 of the 45 fatalities nationwide reported in Selangor.

A third MCO was imposed earlier this month, covering the entire country with the exception of Sarawak which remains under conditional MCO.

Syed Hussain said the current MCO, known as MCO 3.0, was expected to cost about RM300 million a day. He compared this to the total lockdown under MCO 1.0 during which time he said RM2.4 billion was lost per day.

“As responsible employers and citizens, we are doing our utmost to comply with the prescribed SOPs to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said.

“Employers need to play a positive role to ensure that the health and safety of employees are safeguarded.”

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