Ministry Sets Up Hotline For Mentally Distressed Entrepreneurs

Based on a survey conducted by the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Development, it is estimated that some 580,000 businesses, representing 49 per cent of the MSME sector in the country, are at risk of failing by October, if they are not allowed to open up their operations. A total of 6,664 entrepreneurs from all over the country took part in the survey, of which 60 per cent of the respondents said they are suffering from at least one form of mental health condition during the lockdown. The survey revealed that a large number of entrepreneurs that are suffering from this condition are those aged between 35 and 44 years old, involved in service-based businesses and have been operating their businesses for more than 10 years.

This is a serious matter that needs to be addressed immediately or the consequences could be detrimental, the survey was conducted with the aim to gauge the impact of the MCO 3.0 on the local entrepreneurship landscape. It revealed that many businesses are now suffering business fatigue’ syndrome and a declining confidence as a result of the lockdowns. About one third of the respondents said that they did not receive the various assistance introduce by the government. Minister, Dr Wan Junaidi said the impact of the lockdown is not only affecting the economic aspect but also the social aspect as well. If this situation prolongs, it could bring about a long-term negative impact on the country’s socio-economic situation He said the government is very much aware that the people are suffering and is looking into ways to come up with a balanced solution to resolve this matter. Lockdown is no longer the solution to this.

In its effort to assist this group of entrepreneurs, MEDAC has set up a dedicated hotline service to assist entrepreneurs suffering from mental and emotional distress due to the prolonged lockdown. Troubled and concerned individuals can reach out to [email protected], where relevant people from the Ministry will assist to address the concerns. The hotline, operates from 9am to 9pm and will serve as a one stop centre for entrepreneurs who are in distress, however for those who call for advice on business and financial related matters will be channelled to the respective agencies while those with mental related issues will be directed to respective agencies dealing with psycho-social issues such as Talian Kasih and the COVID-19 Psychosocial Support Helpline.

In doing this, the ministry will also be working closely with The National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN), agency under Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, as well as Health Ministry. Dr Wan Junaidi explained because of the indefinite lockdown, many entrepreneurs are unable to operate their business for almost a year and many are now facing financial hardship. He said the uncertainties about their financial situation as well as their future, as well as not being able to socialise, have taken a toll on the mental and emotional state of these business operators.

There is some glimmer of hope business owners, as the EMCO being lifted in Klang Valley and some part of the nations transits into the National Recovery Phase, more industries will soon be able to resume operations. Additionally, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has also principally agreed to allow businesses that does not contribute to the spread of COVID-19 to open up with stricter SOP. The Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob too has mentioned that he wants to meet discuss ways to help the MSME.

For the time being those who are in need of assistance can reach out to [email protected] at 1-300-88-1020

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