Medac submits Enhanced SOPs to allow FCLO businesses to safely reopen

Ismail Sabri (left) and Wan Junaidi in discussion during their meeting in Kuala Lumpur today (July 27, 2021)

KUCHING, July 27: The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (Medac) had submitted proposed Enhanced Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to the government to help speed up the safe reopening of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.

The proposed Enhanced SOPs was presented by Medac Minister Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during a meeting in Kuala Lumpur today.

Wan Junaidi said while Medac fully supports the opening of more economic activities, it is indeed crucial to have 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 to 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 a collaborative effort between the ministry and members of the industry where they too have given input,” he said.

The Enhanced SOPs proposed by Medac focused on six economic activities under the FCLO (First to Close Last to Open) categories, which are food and beverage (F&B dine-in), shopping malls, watch shops, pedicure and manicure (grooming services), beauty parlour/salon and barber/hair salon.

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 with post Covid-19 safety requirements.

Among the mandatory procedures proposed include business owners and workers completing two doses of Covid-19 vaccinations; business owners and workers must go for weekly Covid-19 swab tests and immediate closure of premises for sanitisation purposes should there be any Covid-19 case detected.

Wan Junaidi added that Malaysia’s MSME sector, which accounts for close to 40 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), is on the brink of collapse should the current nationwide lockdown continue indefinitely.

Based on the 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 resume operations by then.

“The closure of these businesses, which are mostly in the FCLO 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,” he said.

Additionally, Medac, on June 15 to June 28, had conducted a survey to gauge the impact of the Movement Control Order (MCO 3.0) on the entrepreneurship landscape in Malaysia.

It found that nearly 60 per cent of the total of 6,664 respondents suffer from at least one form of mental health condition during the lockdown.

The top three factors affecting the mental health of the entrepreneurs include decline and loss of income, debt and financing issues, as well as the risk of business closure. — DayakDaily