THE government’s move to allow more economic sectors to operate during the movement control order (MCO) period is a step in the right direction. These companies are from the industrial sector including automotive, construction and aviation, as well as the services sector including the technical and social health services, hardware shops and electrical and electronics services.

These sectors are crucial in reviving the economy and reducing the hardship that people are currently facing because of the continued but necessary restrictions under the MCO.

Measures are in place to ensure the health and safety of the public in general, and employees of the companies that are permitted to operate in particular.

For instance, before they start working, employees must be screened for Covid-19 at any of the 3,000 Socso health clinics nationwide.

These measures will go a long way in protecting the health and welfare of not only the workers concerned but those in the ancillary services like transport, and customers as well.

It is encouraging to note that the decision to allow more economic sectors to operate during the MCO period is the result of close coordination and oversight among several ministries and agencies, including the International Trade and Industry Ministry, Human Resources Ministry, Works Ministry, the Construction Industry Development Board, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the Department of Safety and Health.

News that the government has agreed to ask Socso to bear the cost of screening employees for Covid-19 is particularly welcomed. Such screening is absolutely necessary to ensure all workers are free from Covid-19.

There is no denying that there is a need to kick-start economic activities on an urgent basis, not necessarily in the pursuit of profit but to save employers from going under as well as jobs.

We are seeing the devastating effects of the pandemic on the economies of many countries. In the United States alone, more than 22 million employees, or 13% of the labour force, have lost their jobs.

While the government is to be congratulated for introducing the new measures, it is also hoped that it will pay equal attention to the fair and just enforcement of the conditions imposed.

The government and private sector must work together to iron out the issues and problems to mitigate the economic impacts of Covid-19.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE , Chairman Alliance For Safe Community


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