KUALA LUMPUR, April 27  —  The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) hopes the government will allow small companies to operate again in stages during the Movement Control Order (MCO) and revive the economy.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said currently employers, who did not have a source of income and who mostly owned small businesses with fewer than five workers, were finding it tough to pay salaries to their workers.

He said the MCO, implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19, had affected over 650,000 employers nationwide as they did not have large savings or funds.

“It would be good to allow companies to operate again… not at 100 per cent but in stages. For example, one third (of the companies) first, if successful, then increase it to 50 per cent and so on,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama TV on Astro Channel 502 yesterday.

Shamsuddin also hoped that the government would not impose restrictive procedures on companies applying to operate during the MCO as it could cause bureaucratic problems and delays in business operations.

“The ability (of companies) to survive has deteriorated and I feel it is important for the government to allow these businesses to operate to revive the economy. We also need to balance the safety and health of employees,” he said, adding that the approval to operate again could be given to all companies in the private sector, except for those with large number of workers.

For a start, MEF urged the government to allow companies to operate again with 30 per cent of their employees and by adopting the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the Ministry of Health.

He also called on the government to set a fixed period for the implementation of the MCO, which was first enforced on March 18 and has now been extended to May 12.

Shamsuddin said the government’s policy of announcing the extension of the MCO every two weeks also made it difficult for employers to plan their business operations.

“It would be easier for the private sector to make plans if the MCO period is announced at one go… we are actually not against the MCO,” he said.


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