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SME association urges government to allow economic sectors to operate but with strict SOPs

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Visitors take the escalator at to the NU Sentral shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur June 2, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — The Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia (Samenta) hopes the government will ease up on the strict restrictions that currently inhibit their operations.

Responding to the latest announcement of an extension of the “total lockdown”, Samenta concurred with the need for a movement control order (MCO) as daily Covid-19 cases are still high.

However, it said that the rate of infections would go down in time without needing to stop all economic activity and pled with the government to allow smaller businesses to operate as before as long as they comply with the strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of the virus.

“If the government, after considering the situation of the epidemic and taking into account the opinions of all parties, is determined to continue the MCO as long as necessary, we appeal to the government for permission to conduct economic activities with strict SOPs.

“This is especially so because the current MCO may continue for more than two months like the previous MCO,” it said in a statement tonight.

Samenta also urged the government to extend the wage subsidy programme until the end of the year, allow for automatic interest-free bank loan moratoriums and to defer all statutory payments — including income tax installments — from May to December 2021.

Samenta was responding to an extension of the current MCO — dubbed MCO 3.0 — which was today extended to June 28.

Although the MCO has been in place since May 5, a “full lockdown” that banned most economic sectors from operating was implemented only on June 1.

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