Business Economy

AMCHAM Says No to Total Lockdown, Implement Best Practices from Previous MCOs

The American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) supports the Malaysian government in taking strong measures to curb the sharp increase in daily COVID-19 cases and easing the burden on the country’s healthcare system.

AMCHAM does not, however, support a Movement Control Order (MCO) 1.0-styled lockdown as was enforced at the beginning of March 2020 in any state or across the nation. Such an approach does not take into account the learnings and infrastructure put in place since last year and would have an immediate negative impact on the already hard hit local economy. It would also have long and far reaching repercussions for businesses currently located in the country and their role in global supply chains.

Drawing from the collaboration between industry and government and recognizing the crucial role that Malaysian workers and businesses play in the supply chain network, we urge the Government to implement best practices from previous MCOs. In adopting a whole-of-society approach, it is also imperative for every individual, family and community to do their part to ensure we achieve a balance between economic survival and public health.

If a lockdown is unavoidable, a negative list should be instituted to ensure intricate ecosystems are intact. This would automatically include manufacturing and support services such as Medical Devices, Electrical and Electronics (E&E) including Semiconductor, and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and their supporting SMEs which were found to be crucial to the country. In facilitating this, mobility of the workforce must be allowed to continue under consistent and clear rules. AMCHAM reiterates its recommendation to allow businesses to self-regulate operational capacity, even if headcount is limited to only 50 percent on-site at any given time. With no working hour restrictions, companies will be able to implement rotations and split shifts, supporting the needed social distancing and Safe@Work bubbles.

We also strongly urge that preparations be made for expeditious vaccination of the community as soon as supplies arrive. Private hospitals and clinics should be primed and equipped to vaccinate their local communities. Industry is similarly ready with their resources and infrastructure to support the roll-out of the industry vaccination program, including on-site vaccinations for industry.