Tuesday, October 26, 2021

No full lockdown please, SMEs say

They say 40% of them will be forced to shut down if a total lockdown is imposed on the economy.

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Small-medium businesses in the country are urging against a full lockdown on the economy, saying nearly 40% of SMEs will be forced to shut down if a total lockdown is imposed as part of the current movement control order (MCO).

In a statement, the SME Association of Malaysia said it had conducted a web dialogue with its members on May 18 and is currently conducting a nationwide survey on the impact of MCO 3.0.

“The initial report indicates that 91% of SMEs expect business revenue to be affected by MCO 3.0, with 37.5% of these companies expecting a drop of more than 50% in business performance.

“Should the lockdown continue, 37.7% of SMEs will close down their business operations for good,” its president Michael Kang said in a statement.

The MCO, under which stricter SOPs were implemented until June 7, was extended across the country earlier this month. Sarawak is the only state which remains under conditional MCO.

While health measures were tightened to curb the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, which yesterday reached a new high of over 6,000 infections, the economic sector has been allowed to remain open.

Kang said the survey showed that 84.5% of SMEs would be significantly affected by MCO 3.0 if the same type of measures implemented during the first MCO last year are enforced.

“More than 40% of SMEs will be in dire financial straits and two million jobs will be lost,” he added.

He said 65% of respondents had called for a blanket automatic loan moratorium while 88.5% agreed that business performance would be significantly affected if the national vaccination programme is delayed.

He said just over half had voiced support for a private immunisation programme and said they were willing to bear the cost of this.

“Meanwhile 95.8% requested that the government allocate more incentives to assist SMEs as quickly as possible.”

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