MEDAC Proposes Enhanced SOP For Speedier Reopening Of MSME’s

The lockdown drag which is now reaching 60 days is putting many small businesses who are financially strapped out of business and income for their family. Before the situation gets any worse, the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives had submitted a proposal to introduce Enhanced SOPs in order for the MSME sector particularly the FCLO (First to Close Last to Open) to safely reopen.

Minister Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar presented the proposal to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri calling on for opening of more economic activities, however reminded that it should be crucial to have a clear SOPs in place so that businesses are able to operate as usual – in a safe and controlled manner.

Based on discussions with members of the industry, he said many have expressed willingness to operate under stricter SOPs and will give full cooperation with the authorities and enforcement team. “In fact, they (industry members) are very proactive and cooperative in this. The enhanced SOPs prepared by MEDAC is actually collaborative effort between the ministry and members of the industry where they too have given input” he said.
The Enhanced SOPs proposed by MEDAC focuses on six economic activities under the FCLO categories, which are in food and beverages (F&B dine-in), shopping malls, watches shop, pedicure and manicure (grooming services), beauty parlour/salon and; barber/hair salon.

MEDAC’s data shows that almost half of the business activities identified , are owned by women entrepreneurs, among the groups most affected by the nationwide lockdown. The SOPs entail a comprehensive set of guidelines from handling of customers, managing staff, operating hours as well premises maintenance to ensure all comply to the post Covid-19 safety requirements.

Proposal include for business owners and workers to complete the two doses of COVID-19 vaccination jabs, both must go for weekly COVID-19 swam test and an immediate closure of premise, for sanitisation purposes, should there be any case COVID-19 detected. Dr Wan Junaidi had earlier highlighted that Malaysia’s MSME sector, which accounts for close to 40 per cent of the country’s GDP, is on the brink of collapsing should the current nationwide lockdown continues indefinitely. Based on survey conducted by MEDAC, it is estimated that some 580,000 businesses, representing 49 per cent of the MSME sector, are at risk of failing by October, if they are not allowed to open up their operations by then.

The closure of these businesses, which are mostly in the micro category, would also mean that more than 7 million Malaysians are expected to be unemployed. Assuming that each worker has an average of two dependents, it will mean that another 14 million people will be affected by this situation. Upon surveying to gauge the impact of the MCO 3.0 on the entrepreneurship landscape in Malaysia, out of total of 6,664 respondent who took part nearly 60 per cent of entrepreneurs claim to suffer from at least one form of mental health condition during the lockdown. The top three factors affecting mental health condition of the entrepreneurs include decline and loss of income, debt and financing issues as well as risk of business closure

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