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Announce sectors allowed under Phase 2 early, says FMM

FMM In The News: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, PETALING JAYA, Wednesday, June 16, 2021 -  Businesses need a clear indication of when they will be allowed to resume operations before they can make hard decisions on their future, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) says.

Its president Soh Thian Lai said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s national recovery plan lacked strategic direction to help affected businesses emerge intact from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elaborating on the four-phase exit plan, he said the government should announce the expanded list of essential economic sectors under Phase Two early so they can plan for their survival.

“Some businesses would have to make hard and painful decisions on their future. FMM has called on the government to allow export-based sectors, supply chain sectors as well as smaller companies to resume operations,” he said.

In a televised address on Tuesday, Muhyiddin said Putrajaya’s exit strategy from the Covid-19 pandemic would involve four phases, with all sectors possibly reopening in the final phase.

Soh also said the present nationwide lockdown has had a more devastating impact on businesses than previous movement control orders, especially those in the non-essential sectors.

Therefore, the government must assist both non-essential and essential sectors, which have been forced to operate at lower capacities for their survival.

He also raised concerns over the lack of clear strategies on the vaccination of undocumented foreign workers, seeing how higher vaccination rates would be used as an indicator in deciding if the country is ready to move from one phase to another under the four-phase exit strategy.

He said unvaccinated foreign workers would delay the country from achieving herd immunity.

“Hence, FMM calls on the government to expedite action plans on this important matter.”

Under the exit strategy announced by Muhyiddin, the first phase of the recovery plan is the ongoing lockdown, which is being implemented because the number of cases remains high.

The second phase will see a tighter control of social activities and movement restrictions, with economic sectors being reopened in stages.

The third phase will see all economic sectors being allowed to operate except those listed as high risk.

The last stage, the prime minister said, would begin by October when Covid-19 numbers are expected to drop to around 500 a day and 60% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Under the last phase, Muhyiddin said the nation could return to near normalcy with all economic sectors open.

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