MEF, BECM call for further lifting of restrictions

PETALING JAYA: With the resumption of non-essential services for businesses, some associations have raised their concerns over remaining restrictions.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) expressed relief that the lockdown had been lifted, but pointed out that restrictions to keep corporate offices shut hampers overall business recovery efforts. Its president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman relayed that he has received feedback from members questioning the closure of corporate offices when factory offices were allowed to open, pointing out that major decisions are made at the management level and not at the production sites.

“The operations effectiveness is lost should the corporate offices be required to remain closed. With corporate offices remaining shut, decisions were being made remotely and resulted in a lot of confusion in operations and management,” he said in a statement today.

Hussain argued there are many decisions that operations or factories cannot make as it has to follow the strategic decision of the company. In addition, he said there is still much confusion over the standard operating procedure (SOP) that was hindering industry efforts to rebuild business.

“Incomplete policies would only create unwanted stress in the management of our operations,” said Hussain, adding that for efficient and productive management, businesses needs to ensure decision makers are back at work in the office.

“We would like to propose to the authorities that employees who have had two doses of the vaccine be allowed to return to the office. Employers should be allowed to self-manage the Covid situation at the workplace following the SOP. We are not able to micro manage business by keeping the corporate office shut, especially in zones that are open. Self-management is the way to go in an endemic situation.”

Meanwhile, the Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM) questioned the decision to keep the business events sector shuttered. Its acting chairman Datuk Vincent Lim questioned why the entertainment industry which includes cinemas, galleries and art exhibits can reopen while business events such as trade exhibitions and conferences remain closed.

“We urge the government to consider reopening this sector immediately under strict adherence to SOP. The business events industry has been badly affected over the 18 months of restrictions, yet we all complied.”

Lim highlighted the industry has always adhered to regulation and has prior experience in maintaining order in every exhibition. With the national vaccination rollout approaching 80%, he argued the industry cannot afford to sit back any longer as business events require a minimum of three months of planning.

“Reopening the sector now allows us a chance to catch up with the rest of the world in planning. If we wait any longer, we will lose out to other global cities that are also bidding for a stake of the industry such as Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.”

In 2019, the sector generated RM27.5 billion to Malaysia GDP and these events create jobs and revenues to other associated industries such as hospitality and transportation.

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