KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — The Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders (FMFF) is supportive of a lockdown for a two- to four-week duration to curb the spike in COVID-19 cases despite the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) 3.0.
In a statement, it said the lockdown ought to be targeted at specific states or zones rather than a total lockdown nationwide.
“While FMFF is supportive that business should go on as usual, the fact remains that the number of cases has not abated and the medical facilities are stretched to the limit; even with ad-hoc measures to increase capacity to treat the surge in new cases.
“The medical facilities need a circuit breaker to slow down the number of cases so that medical services can recover and lives can be saved,” said FMFF.
On ways to alleviate the burden to both employers and employees who may be affected by the lockdown, FMFF said the government should continue to provide stimulus packages as dished out during MCO 1.0.
FMFF urged the government to fast-track the National Immunisation programme by requiring private hospitals and clinics to complement its efforts at no cost to the public to enable more people to be vaccinated in a shorter time.
It also hoped that the Selangor government can consider and grant free vaccination to the members of the port, maritime and logistics industry in Selangor, as they were mostly micro and small, which accounted for 90 per cent of the businesses.
“Port Klang is the biggest port in Malaysia and many businesses in Selangor depend on the port for its import and export and supply chain management.
“These companies would be hard pressed to pay for the vaccination cost of their staff and would rather wait for free vaccination provided by the federal government,” it added.
On the contrary, the Small & Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA) is against a total lockdown, contending that it would render tens of thousands of SMEs insolvent, which in turn would lead to another round of retrenchment.
“The solution can only be in vaccination. Vaccine fear is still very rampant. The industry must do our part to get our employees and their family members to register for vaccination,” said SAMENTA Central chairman Datuk William Ng.
He said the government would do well by seeking assistance from state governments and mobilising the private sector to increase vaccination registrations among Malaysians and enhance vaccine rollouts.