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Monday, May 10, 2021

Bosses and consumers in two minds over another lockdown

 

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan says Covid-19 case numbers are ‘just too high’ while Fomca president N Marimuthu calls for a loan moratorium and monthly aid for the poor.

PETALING JAYA: Bosses and consumer groups are divided in their reactions to the latest nationwide MCO, with one consumer leader saying there had been too many flip-flops and Putrajaya needs to buck up.

Fomca president N Marimuthu said the third movement control order came too suddenly and the announcement had caught many by surprise after Cabinet ministers had been saying there would not be another lockdown as recently as a month ago.

“The anger on the ground with the government’s flip-flop is really bad,” he told FMT.

He urged the government to impose a loan moratorium for three months with immediate effect, and provide monthly aid of RM1,000 each for those in the lower-income B40 group and RM500 each for middle-income M40 people.

A third nationwide lockdown, from May 12 to June 7, was announced earlier today, with schools closed and social activities including Hari Raya visits banned. All economic sectors will be allowed to operate, but under work-from-home conditions.

Lockdown necessary

Consumers’ Association of Subang and Shah Alam president Jacob George said the association is in support of the lockdown, because economic sectors are allowed to operate.

“We do not see any major impediment. The government has to take measures to reduce the rate of infections,” he added.

George said the lockdown will act as a breathing space to medical frontliners to reorganise their strategies as people stay home in the hope to reduce any further surge in Covid-19 cases.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said the lockdown was critical. “The number of cases is just too high and if the government did not impose a lockdown now, it would have impacted the economy as the numbers could go higher,” he told FMT.

He said it was time for everyone to look at balancing life and livelihood and “the public just has to follow all the rules in making sure the number goes down.”

Shamsuddin said businesses would suffer but even without the lockdown, businesses were suffering as consumers have tightened their belts.

“People are no longer spending like what they used to. They were already cautious with their money,” he added.

He hopes the third lockdown will bring the case numbers below 1,000 and urged everyone to cooperate in hopes that life will go back to normal.

The first MCO was from March to May last year, and another from January to March this year. - FMT

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