The very fresh announcement by PM Muhyiddin this morning leaves much to the imagination. Food eateries are allowed to operate subject to certain SOPs. Mass gatherings and contact sports are still banned. Close contact entertainments like karaoke and cinemas are banned too.
As a business owner, I’m reading and searching through the whole 16 pages of announcement looking for clear directive as to whether SMEs like mine can open for business. As stated in the announcement, I visited the MKN site but after all that, I still cannot find any provisions for SME or any other businesses that are allowed to operate with clear SOPs.
As a lawyer, I am interested to know if government departments like Land and Survey department, Inland Revenue Office, District Office, Municipal Council, Resident Office and the Court will be open for business. Without these offices or departments being open law firms will be unable to conduct our businesses.
The government should provide us with a clear and succinct list of categories of businesses that can open for business with clear SOPs even as to the time for operation. The government cannot just request employers to stagger their hours of operation. This will cause great chaos because how is one employer/business owner going to know what another’s working hours are?
Furthermore to generalize and say all eateries can open is not taking into account the level of contagiousness of the virus in each area. I would suggest that no businesses should be allowed to operate at all in red zone areas whilst in green zone areas, all businesses be allowed to operate with strict SOPs such as no entry to red zone areas etc. It will be better still if red zone areas be marked out and barriers put up for entry and exit to ensure that each zone is safe and to effectively contain the pandemic.
PCID No.4 law is still in force till 12 May. This is still the Act of Parliament. Unless and until this PCID No.4 is revoked, this new announcement is very much doubtful.
As a business owner, I too am contributing to the economy losses of RM32billion of losses per month (according to PM’s announcement) and I want to start working as soon as practical with clear effective measures put in place so that there’s no guessing game. With clear SOPs enforcement will be more effective and we can then safely protect each other against this pandemic and safeguard our economy.
Parti Bumi Kenyalang
Lawyer and Educationist