- May 20, 2021
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Daily News
- Top government officials have been at loggerheads over whether to impose stricter restrictions under Malaysia’s nationwide movement control order (MCO), with no sign of the spread of Covid-19 abating nearly two weeks after inter-district movement and social activities were curbed in the Klang Valley.
- This comes as daily Covid-19 cases hit a new high of 6,075 cases on 19 May 21, the highest in Malaysia since the pandemic began.
- The Straits Times understands that some quarters are pushing for rules similar to the first MCO implemented in Mar 20 – which barred all non-essential activities – to be announced this week despite fears that it would torpedo hopes of an economic rebound after 2020’s recession.
- A top official in a development agency revealed that discussions have been ongoing and that “a full lockdown may kick in as early as 21 May 21”.
- The authorities have also reached out to business associations to seek their position on whether to impose a lockdown that would shutter nearly all commerce with stay-home orders.
- This follows a series of public statements by both health and economic officials debating the need for MCO1.0-style restrictions to be introduced, as deaths and intensive care unit (ICU) usage have been breaking records all through May 21. Malaysia on 19 May 21 recorded the highest number of admissions to the ICU with 559 new cases in the past 24 hours, said director-general of health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
- Meanwhile, Sarawak Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari announced that any decision to place Selangor under a complete lockdown lies in the hands of the federal government. He opined that the state government would accept and support any decision taken by Putrajaya, including a complete lockdown.
- However he added that there must be effective follow-up measures added to the lockdown to ensure people’s livelihood and students’ education are not affected.
- Amirudin’s response comes after Health Minister Dr Adham Baba on 17 May 21 warned that Selangor could be put under full lockdown if the number of Covid-19 cases cannot be brought under control.
- Earlier on 19 May 21, Selangor Covid-19 task force chairman Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad urged Putrajaya to think carefully about ordering a full lockdown to rein in the coronavirus in the state.
- Amirudin clarified that Dzulkefly did not entirely reject a full lockdown, but that the former health minister wanted comprehensive follow-up measures to be taken.
- The Sg Tua assemblyman, however, said the next course of action would be discussed in the upcoming NSC meeting, which is scheduled this week.
- On their part, the SME association of Malaysia (SME Malaysia) has warned that 40% of small and medium enterprises will shut down for good if the government imposes another full lockdown. The association is currently conducting a nationwide survey on the impact of MCO 3.0.
- “It will spell the immediate end for all businesses across the nation,” its president, Michael Kang, said in a statement.
- He said an initial report from the association’s dialogue with members indicated that 91% of SMEs expected their revenue to be affected by MCO 3.0, with 37.5% of these companies anticipating a drop of more than 50% in business performance.
- Kang said a key finding in the survey was that 95.8% had requested the government to give out more incentives to assist SMEs as quickly as possible.
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