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Speedier vaccination now, FMM tells govt

FMM In The News: THE MALAYSIAN RESERVE, Friday, July 2, 2021 - THE speed of vaccination is the key to economies moving back to normalisation which will then enable economies to relax restrictions and dismantle border curbs and minimise the need for lockdowns, said the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai.

“The government should not focus on reducing cases and instead, work on driving large-scale vaccination as this is the only way to return to pre-pandemic times,” he said.

For areas that will be under the EMCO including Kuala Lumpur and a sizeable number of Selangor districts, FMM calls for the government to expedite mass testing that includes foreign workers and undocumented foreign workers as well as confirm vaccination appointments for all under the National Immunisation Programme and the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme within the two-week EMCO period.

FMM also implored for companies with the Industry and Trade Ministry’s (MITI) Covid-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS) approval should be allowed to continue to operate at the 10% capacity under the EMCO as it is very costly to switch the machinery and equipment off and on.

The federation has proposed for the urgent consideration of the government to review the three thresholds of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and other critical actions for a faster transition to Phase 2.

FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said this is to prevent permanent and irreversible damage to business and the economy as the manufacturing sector is already severely impacted by business closures of the non-essential sectors and the reduced capacity operations of the essential sectors.

“We have proposed that the government review the three thresholds of the NRP for a faster transition to Phase 2, the opening up of more sectors to minimise the damage to businesses and the economy as well as specific actions for areas that have been put under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO),” he said in a statement today.

As announced on Jun 27, Phase 1 of the NRP has been extended indefinitely until its three key indicators including daily cases drop to below 4,000; moderate level in the rate of bed usage in intensive care units (ICU); and 10% of the population completed two doses of the vaccine, have been achieved.

This has sent most industries into a greater level of panic and anxiety on the future of their business viability given the indefinite prolonged lockdown.

To aggravate the situation, Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah recently said the trend of declining Covid-19 cases since June 2021 was actually reversed, based on the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) latest projections for infections to climb in coming weeks.

According to the current Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Removed (SEIR) projection, Malaysia’s average cases have deviated from the curve plotted for an effective reproduction number (Rt) of 0.95 to the current Rt of 1.04.

As a result, the average cases are going to hover around 6,000 cases until mid-July, proven by the number of cases exceeding 6,000 for three consecutive days as reported by the MoH with yesterday being the highest at 6,988 cases.

In addition, the latest monthly edition of the Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking has Malaysia ranked at 51st position out of 53 economies globally.

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