Thursday, September 23, 2021

No noise, please, let govt walk the lives-livelihoods tightrope

Critics of the government's work from home order should understand that its hands are full battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

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I refer to the public criticism and numerous snide remarks made following the government’s work from home directive for areas under conditional movement control order (CMCO), especially in the Klang Valley.

I am not sure what the critics are getting at. Do they want the economy to close again like the first phase of the MCO? Do they have any inkling how much it hurts the economy?

During those few months, lots of businesses were practically crippled. Do critics know how many daily wage earners went to bed with a hungry stomach daily, not just them but their families, including young ones? Can they put themselves in the shoes of those who lost their jobs, some possibly never to be gainfully employed in the foreseeable future due to their age, skillsets and scarcity of work due to the shrinking economy?

Please have a heart! There is a need to balance lives and livelihoods. What’s the big deal about slashing the number of people going to work? For example, if a retail outlet only requires sales staff and some technical support to be around, the rest like administration or human resources personnel only need to spend minimal time at work, if at all.

The whole idea is to cut down the chain of transmission. The fewer people moving around, the lesser the risk of transmission. Let only critical staff be around, provided they adhere strictly to the SOPs.

While armchair critics can poke fun at whether a person needs to be sawed in half if a company strictly follows the 10% attendance rate for a workforce of five, this is no laughing matter for those staring at their fast depleting bank savings, if there’s any left.

Businesses are hard hit, and this spills over to the job market. The government is doing its best to stop the economy from going into a tailspin.

As it is, the government already has its hands full battling the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the staggering figures, we appear to be winning, as the R naught infection rate dips and the restrictions on movement bear results.

During such an unprecedented crisis, let’s set aside our differences and focus on the bigger picture. We are walking a thin line between lives and livelihoods. The last thing we need is for some of us to throw a hissy fit that could distract our efforts and plunge us into an economic and public health disaster.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

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