Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today reiterated that the government will not completely close the economic sector even when implementing the Movement Control Order (MCO) as it will adversely affect petty traders. He said the government had decided on this to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods although there were calls from various quarters to shut down the economic sector to curb the spike in COVID-19 cases.

“I have received many WhatsApp messages from petty traders and roadside traders saying it would be very tough for them if they are not allowed to operate during the MCO period. Ismail Sabri said the government has to protect the economic interests of the poor, especially the B40 group.

On Friday, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz has reassured the public that Malaysia will not implement a total lockdown on the economy, even if the worst case scenario comes true. Instead, he said the government will continue to focus on enforcing more stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs), should the number of Covid-19 cases remain high in the country. “Based on the current model, we believe the number of cases will go down. “Assuming the worst case scenario (comes true), it will not be a total lockdown on the economy, we will continue to focus on more stringent SOP,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

Malaysia is currently under a Movement Control Order that is scheduled to end on 4 February 2021. The National Security Council is due to meet Tuesday to decide whether to extend the MCO.


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