Let small companies reopen in stages, govt urged

MEF says more than 650,000 employers, mostly in small business, have difficulty in paying wages.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Employers Federation hopes the government will allow small companies to resume operations in stages and help revive the economy.

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said small businesses with fewer than five workers were finding it tough to pay their workers’ salaries because of the national shutdown under the movement control order.

He said more than 650,000 employers were affected, as they did not have large savings or funds.

“It would be good to allow companies to operate again… not at 100% but in stages. For example, one third (of the companies) first, then if successful, increase it to 50% and so on,” he said in an interview with Bernama TV yesterday.

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan

Shamsuddin hoped the government would not impose restrictive procedures on companies seeking to resume business.

“The ability (of companies) to survive has deteriorated and I feel it is important for the government to allow these businesses to operate to revive the economy. We also need to balance the safety and health of employees,” he said. Approval to resume operations could be given to all companies in the private sector, except for those with large number of workers, he said.

For a start, MEF urged the government to allow companies to operate again with 30% of their employees and by adopting the procedures set by the health ministry.

The government should fix the period of the MCO, which has now been extended to May 12. The policy of announcing extensions every two weeks had made it difficult for employers to plan their business operations.

“It would be easier to make plans if the MCO period is announced at one go,” he said.

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