KUCHING, June 3: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii questions the federal government on its delay in finalising the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for hair salons, night markets and wholesale businesses.
“While I welcome the announcement by Senior Minister (Datuk Seri Sabri Ismail Yaakob) that SOPs for hairdressers, barbers and even night markets or wholesale will be finalised this Saturday, but I question why does it take so long for them to finalise it when many hairdressers and barbers and even small traders are suffering without income for almost three months.”
Dr Yii pointed out that for hair dressers, the government first announced that on April 12 that they were allowed to operate starting from April 15 but due to public concerns, the government made a “u-turn” and disallowed the services of hairdressers from opening.
“So the question will be, since it (the permission for hair salons to operate) was announced two months before this, shouldn’t a set SOP be already in place for that announcement to be made in the first place?
“Then why does it take so long now for the government to formulate another SOP and even the need to wait all the way to Saturday to finalise it?” Dr Yii asked in a press statement today.
To him, the government has shown little urgency when the industry is suffering and many have not been getting income for past months, even though they have bills to pay including their rental and salary for their assistants.
“Even if such SOP is meant for the opening on the 9th of June after the possible lifting of the CMCO, it is important the government make the necessary announcement early on finalised SOP to help those involved make the necessary preparations and adaptation to the required SOP.
“With clearer and earlier communication, there will be better compliance by the industry,” he said.
He pointed out that the Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA) had already released a comprehensive SOP recommendation since May 11 that covers handling of clients, sterilisation of seats and even equipments.
“So even with this, the slowness of the government to act upon it has badly affected the industry forcing some to do house calls and even open illegally even though it is not allowed.”
Dr Yii said there have been inconsistencies in enforcement as there is a social media posting showing a minister offering RM1,000 for a haircut while there were news of barbers getting fined for operating during the conditional movement control order (CMCO).
“So the inconsistencies in enforcement is not fair to them who are struggling to make a living now.”
He believed that SOPs for close contact essential services used by dentist and even doctors can be a reference point on how hairdressers can proceed safely while offering the necessary services to the clients.
“This also includes beauty salons, facials, even manicure, and pedicure. While I acknowledge that these may not be essential services, but the government must act quickly to show them an ‘exit strategy’ to help them get through this tough time.
“So I urge the government to show some urgency to help those sectors that are yet to be opened including hawkers at pasar malam or wholesale market.
“The federal and state government should also extend their aid under their economic stimulus package to cover these sectors which has been badly affected by the MCO and even CMCO,” said Dr Yii.