Reopen malls, retail outlets by July 15

Reopen malls, retail outlets by July 15

The government has been urged to allow the reopening of retail sectors by July 15 amid the Full Movement Control Order (FMCO) enforced nationwide last month.

The government could also allow reopening of the shopping and retail sector once the vaccination rate reaches its 10 per cent target.

In a joint statement, shopping retails associations and recreation operators said they believe the lockdown, especially the Enhanced MCO (EMCO) in some parts of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, unnecessarily penalises areas which are deemed as being low risk.

The joint statement was issued by the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA), Bumiputera Retailers Organisation, Malaysian Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Managers Association (MRMA), and Malaysian Association Of Theme Park & Family Attractions (MATFA).

The associations have called for the government to be precise and provide in-depth analysis on the breakdown of Covid-19 cases based on locality and states.

This is so that the green zones are not made to suffer unnecessary economic damage because of the hot spot zones, they said.

“The Health Ministry’s data reveals that retail and shopping sector including external shopping (street-front shops) areas contributed merely 0.8 per cent of all cases in May 2021, even before the FMCO lockdown which started on June 1.

“This has significantly improved and extremely low figures testify to the retail and mall industries’ strict adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“We appeal to the authorities to allow the entire retail sector which are not at risk to re-open immediately especially the shopping malls and retail shops including street front shops, indoor playland and family entertainment attractions with strict compliance to stringent SOPs,” they said in a statement today.

The associations have also called on the government to balance between lives and livelihoods in the midst of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said that the shopping mall and retail industry contributes significantly to the country’s economy and foreign direct investments by new brands and retailers, hence all efforts to preserve the performance of this sector must be made.

According to Bank Negara Annual Report 2019, the retail industry contributed 34.6 per cent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) of USD358.7 billion in 2018.

The group also cited that the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned against lockdowns as these result in extreme economic damage, particularly affecting those in the lower-income group.

Continuous lockdown will foresee almost 500,000 employees engaged in the shopping mall and retail industries will eventually be laid off, it said.

“With these massive lay-offs, business failures and shop closures including mega shopping malls and retail brands, the industry may never recover.

“This would eventually drastically impact other components in the supply chain and the entire retail ecosystem,” it added. Nst

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Economy matters, but lives and security must be prioritised

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