MCO Relaxed from May 4 Onwards with SOPs
Last week, the fourth phase of MCO lockdown was announced, extending the period until May 12, which caused many to suffer economic consequences. However, after monitoring the past few days, a conditional MCO has be declared by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to ease the lockdown for Malaysians from May 4 onwards.
With the news of decreasing COVID-19 cases along with this announcement, many are eager to start up their businesses again and to return to a state of normalcy. However, while most businesses will be allowed to resume their operations, SOPs will still be in place strictly to control the spreading of the virus. Some sectors are also still barred from operating, such as nightclubs and bars.
This decision has been well received by the public overall, after more than a month abiding the current MCO rules. Economist and Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow, Madeline Berma, welcomed this partial ease of lockdown terms as it serves beneficial to the poorer community from rural areas, where even essential services are hard to access on a daily basis.
Berma noted that while there may still be health concerns with this decision of easing the MCO, the standstill in production and consumption has led to businesses and employees taking a hit in their incomes through salary cuts or retrenchments, and any prolonging of this will cause grave effects for the overall wellbeing of the country.
“The MCO and various stimulus packages have addressed health and economic concerns to a certain extent, and while we have not truly flattened the curve as there are new Covid-19 cases every day, restricting the economy will affect the wellbeing of the people." Berma explained.
A survey done by the Statistics Department found that nearly half of self-employed workers had lost their jobs during the MCO period, with 43% not having enough money to last beyond two weeks. This may further rise in numbers, if the MCO continues to be extended.