MTUC urges PM to delay easing MCO restrictions until everyone is ready

(MMO) – The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has urged Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to delay the implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

The reason being is that employers, workers and consumers must have adequate space and opportunity to adjust to the new normal, it added.

In reaction to Muhyiddin’s announcement that most economic sectors will re-open on Monday, MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said a three-day notice to resume operations doesn’t allow enough time to address any issues that may arise.

“This will not take forever, but it will certainly take more than three days. And to make it work, the government machinery must be visible on the ground to help everyone make the transition to the new normal smoothly so that the economic recovery can be sustained and shielded from a fresh wave of Covid-19 attacks.

“The businesses need not worry about losing their incomes as once the MCO is totally lifted, the people will rush to buy all the items that they lack in huge quantities. So they will get back their lost profits in no time,” he said in a statement today.

According to Solomon, developments in Japan, Singapore, Germany and Canada show how the situation can change dramatically if caution is thrown to the wind and restrictions are lifted too soon.

He said that is why the MTUC is worried the government is acting hastily in doing away with many of the MCO curbs in the name of saving the country from further economic damage.

“No one wants to return to work more than the 15 million workers in the country. But has the government ensured that employers have put the safeguards in place for the safety of workers?  Is there enough enforcement on the ground to ensure employers comply with the SOP drawn up by the Health Ministry? Are these health screenings actually taking place?

“We urge the government not to risk the health and safety of workers, both local and foreign. They cannot be left to the mercy of employers.

“Our feedback shows that many employers who had earlier been given the greenlight to operate ignored many of the basic safety measures, such as the wearing of masks, use of sanitizers and social distancing. The poor, squalid and cramped living conditions of many of the workers are a major cause of concern,” he said.

Solomon also questioned the readiness of the government and local council enforcement teams in ensuring health standard operating procedures (SOPs) are complied with at all times.

He also highlighted the issue of corruption that historically has affected several areas in business including the enforcement of rules that may contribute to the next wave of Covid-19 infections.

“Only by doing so, can the government instil public confidence and ensure the business community can sustain their operations by maintaining the highest health care standards.

“Another point to consider is the possibility of enforcement teams indulging in corruption, something which is not impossible based on past experiences in our enforcement teams. These if allowed to happen may be the cause of a second or third wave,” he said.

Yesterday, Muhyiddin announced that the government is easing the movement control order (MCO) with most businesses allowed to re-open on May 4 subject to strict conditions.

In his Labour Day address, Muhyiddin said that the government can no longer afford to carry on with the extended MCO imposed on businesses, which has dealt a significant blow to the nation’s economy.

He said that the government has suffered RM2.4 billion in losses daily during the MCO, adding that this amounts to an estimated RM63 billion to date, with another RM35 billion to come, should the MCO be extended any longer.