PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has urged the government to immediately implement a stricter lockdown under the movement control order.
He said this in response to a letter that the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Eurocham) sent to its members stating that the government is mulling a stricter shutdown if the Covid-19 infection rate does not reduce by Feb 4, the scheduled end of MCO 2.0.
Najib said that waiting for the MCO 2.0 to end before imposing tougher restrictions would only prolong the hardship felt by businesses.
“If you want to be stricter by banning the factory and construction sectors, go all out now,” he said in a social media post. “Do not wait and force people to suffer for a longer time under the MCO 2.0.
“Why propose for it to happen only after MCO 2.0, as 23 days would have been wasted?”
The letter stated that international trade and industry ministry (Miti) secretary-general Lokman Hakim Ali had informed Eurochem that the health ministry believed the manufacturing sector to be the main source of infections.
“Should the infection rate not go down, the Malaysian government will announce a shutdown/strict lockdown immediately after Feb 4,” it read.
The letter further encouraged Eurocham to do what it could to “reduce infections, break the chain and keep the economy open”.
FMT has confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
Full shutdown after Feb 4 if Covid-19 cases keep rising, Eurocham members told
A letter by EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Eurocham Malaysia) chief executive officer Sven Schneider to his members has revealed that Putrajaya is set to announce a total economic shutdown after Feb 4, should the number of Covid-19 cases in the country keep rising.
Malaysiakini spoke to a Eurocham source who confirmed the authenticity of the letter but said that it was intended for the internal consumption of its members only.
The letter contained a summary of Schneider’s Jan 22 “important and urgent” meeting with International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) secretary-general Lokman Hakim Ali and other officials, during which it was mentioned that the Health Ministry “made a clear stand on the matter of a complete shutdown of the economy”.
“Should the infection rate not decrease, the government will announce a shutdown/strict lockdown immediately after Feb 4.
Schneider said that the Health Ministry believes the manufacturing sector, with 99 Covid-19 clusters, is the main source of infection.
“Construction was also mentioned, but since it is not under the purview of Miti, we did not discuss the sector in detail.
“Since in particular, dormitories and related activities (transportation, social activities) were identified as problems, while manufacturing sites itself usually demonstrate sufficient compliance, Miti brainstormed together with the present chambers of commerce a few potential measures.
“While we are awaiting more information from the ministry and since time is of the essence, we share the preliminary outcomes here with you,” he added.
It was suggested in the letter that companies assign at least one human resources person to manage and coordinate foreign workers and/or workers staying in dormitories.
The companies were also requested to take responsibility in cases where foreign workers management or housing have been outsourced to employment agencies.
Malaysiakini is seeking a response from Miti and the Health Ministry to the updates mentioned in Schneider’s letter.
FREE MALAYSIA TODAY / MKINI