KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) has urged the government to mobilise all resources of both public and private sectors to expedite the national vaccination programme to achieve herd immunity sooner than later.
It said more resources must be allocated and also undertake aggressive sourcing of vaccines portfolio to effectively implement the vaccination and reaching the target of herd immunity sooner.
“Hence, we urge the government to mobilise all resources of both public and private sectors to expedite the national vaccination programme, which is the root cause of the pandemic,” it said in a statement as the country reported a staggering 6,806 new COVID-19 cases today.
The chamber said it is deeply concerned about the worsening pandemic conditions that have not only caused public fears and worries but also exhausted the public healthcare system and resources.
It said slow vaccination rate and a wider community spread as well as a high proportion of asymptomatic virus carriers left the people vulnerable to the virus.
ACCCIM said it also urged the government to step up mass testing and isolation as well as beef up contact tracing.
“The Health Ministry (MoH) has to adopt a more aggressive detection strategy, with the help of private general practitioners and recruitment of extra staff to be supervised by public health officers in a contact tracing network,” it said.
The chamber said it opined that the spread of the virus could be controlled through mass testing and detection and isolation of close contacts within 48 hours.
ACCIM said it hoped that further targeted reliefs could be considered to support sectors that require in-person interactions or travel that have been hit particularly hard, including self-employed, micro business, service industries such as restaurants and retailers.
It said the government could consider, among others, extending some of the relief and financial assistance measures like the Wage Subsidy Programme and Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) levy exemption for selected groups, tourism and retail, which would expire in June 2021.
Likewise, it said special tax deduction for providing a rental reduction of at least 30 per cent on business premises for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Non-SMEs would expire in June 2021.
It said utility bill discounts or rebates also would come in handy.
“Microbusiness, self-employed as well as informal workers paid on a daily/weekly wage should be given more relief as the restricted people mobility to lessen the virus spread would affect this vulnerable group the most,” it added.