Like it or not the coronavirus is among us and its thriving, daily cases has increased by 1000 percent since March 2020, a stark reality many have to come to grips with. In order to quell the surge the government has once again initiated the movement control order or MCO 2.0, restricting movement and shutting of non-essential businesses. The action will leave a much undesired impact on entrepreneurs.
The cause is unavoidable, entrepreneurs will have to face the fact that this is the new norm, businesses has to evolve while its sad to hear many small and informal business have closed, the encouragement is there for those in operation to take advantage of the various assistance, incentives and programmes made available by the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC).
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said informal business entrepreneurs are also encouraged to register with the relevant authorities so that all the allocations and assistance available could be channeled to the eligible recipients. “We are now living in the post-COVID-19 era. Lots of things around us are changing and we have to accept and adapt to the new norm. In business, it is all about survival of the fittest.”
Pivoting is no longer words used in the corridors of tech or startups offices, every business has to pivot and navigate for survival, keropok seller has to think of ways of getting his good to the masses apart from shopfront. Retail needs to evolve, the Minister has rightly called for entrepreneurs to equip themselves with new knowledge and skills, not only for their businesses’ survival, but also to take advantage of the many new opportunities. Upskilling and learning eCommerce, digital marketing are all aspects that all entrepreneur can harness.
According to the ministry’s surveys, some of the major challenges that entrepreneurs face during the Movement Control Order are cash flow constraints and lower sales volume. This is largely due to the decline in customer demand as well as the shorter business operating hours. The supply chain may also be affected by logistical issues and delays in delivery of raw materials as a result of the restricted movements, he said.
Business activities in the tourism, agriculture, wholesale as well as retail sectors are also expected to be significantly affected by the order and the nationwide state of emergency. In addition, the emergency proclamation may cause ‘force majeure’ — unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract and would result in losses to entrepreneurs.
Investors’ confidence on the country’s business landscape will also be affected and could potentially cause a domino effect on the stock market as well as foreign direct investments. However, despite all these risks, Wan Junaidi is optimistic about seeing the positive effects from the current situation, namely, in terms of increasing online demand and supply of products and services.
Citing a report by the Companies Commission of Malaysia for the January-September 2020 period, he pointed out that although 41,349 businesses had closed down during the period, there were also 299,431 new business registrations, of which 86,295 were online businesses..
There is no other way to sugar-coat the situation. Further extension of the MCO would affect the economy…and the ones who would be severely hit are the B40 group, including micro and informal business operators.
-Datuk Wan Junaidi MEDAC