RMCO extension heightens anxiety among struggling businesses

John Goh

SIBU, Aug 30: While the public largely welcomes the extension of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) to help curb the spread of Covid-19, some businesses fear its further impact as they are already struggling to stay afloat.

Delivery services operator John Goh reckoned that from feedback he gathered, a number of companies might have to close down as it was difficult for them to comply fully with the guidelines of the standard operating procedure (SOP).

“If they cannot survive from now until end of the RMCO extension (Dec 31, 2020), they will have no choice but to close business,” he said.

Goh whose business is also connected with the construction industry through deliveries of building materials and machinery, revealed that according to the SOP, workers need to wear face masks while at work.

“How can construction workers put on face masks while at work?” he asked.

He said if they do not abide by the SOP and not wear face masks, action would be taken against them.

“Just yesterday, a construction worker in Kuching was issued with a RM1,000 compound for not wearing mask,” he noted.

“Some trading companies, I was told, are also contemplating closing down due to a decreasing number of customers. This is because customers are worried that they would be compounded should they not abide by the SOP,” he said.

As for his company, he revealed he needed to go through the hassle to apply for a police permit for his delivery business in March and April

“Our suppliers have stopped giving us new stocks of goods and owing to this, we have no job to do now,” he lamented.

He had also applied for the wage subsidy programme in April from the Social Security Organisation (Socso) for his seven workers but until now he had not received any feedback on his application.

Under the programme, Malaysians earning less than RM4,000 a month are eligible for the subsidies with the amount depending on the size of the company’s workforce.

Companies which employ more than 200 people will receive RM600 per retained worker, while those employing between 75 to 200 employees will get RM800 each. Those with fewer than 75 employees will get RM1,200 per person.

However, it has been a different story for salaried workers.

Private college lecturer Eta Ting said the RMCO extension is a precautionary stance which could help to flatten the Covid-19 curve.

“Whether it is a good move or not depends not only on the government but also every Malaysian who needs to be alert and humane to be socially responsible by staying at home if possible,” she said.

Ting who is also an active social worker, advised the public to continue wearing face masks when going out and to observe the one-metre physical distancing rule.

“Be hygienic by washing hands. All these simple acts are done for us to protect and save one another’s lives to be Covid-19-free if possible or to a minimal. So, stay safe and stay blessed to be a blessing to all practising the ‘norms’ while we can,” she said.

Visually impaired masseur Yap Chong Yap supported the RMCO extension as the tightening of the country’s borders is still being enforced.

“For example, the Kalimantan-Sarawak border tightening helps to prevent people from other the side from entering the state. Indonesia has high number of positive Covid-19 cases, so border control prevent them from coming here,” he said.

He also concurred with Goh that businesses will be affected by the extension as people need to follow the SOP. — DayakDaily