CAN MALAYSIA STAND ANOTHER MCO EXTENSION?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, we all wonder, “will there be further extension?” Can Malaysia stand another MCO extension? Here, we put forth some of the adverse impacts of further extended MCO.

No1: SMEs – If the MCO is further extended, it is definitely going to be a huge challenge for smaller businesses to sustain themselves, especially non-essential businesses that are not allowed to operate. No production = no income = won’t be able to sustain their employees.

No.2: National economy – The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research states that Malaysia’s GDP may shrink by about 2.9% in 2020 compared to 2019, resulting in an estimated 2.4 million people losing their jobs, of which 67% will be among unskilled workers. This brings us to No. 3…

No.3: The people – It is given that at this critical time in the pandemic, the priority lies in protecting the health and wellbeing of the people. Yet, if people are forced into unemployment, how are they to keep food on the table or a roof over their heads?

No.4: Education – While many education institutions resorted to online classes, it may not be the most ideal solution in the long term. Also, not all families are fortunate enough to have the necessary tools for distant or e-learning. This disadvantage should not be the reason these students have to give up on education.

No.5: Social impact – As unemployment and education drop-out rates skyrocket, people are increasingly struggling to stay alive (regardless of the virus), this might lead to increased crime rates. A rampant virus and a crumbling community happening all at once? This is a quick recipe for disaster.

So, if the MCO ends on 14 April, that does not mean that we are all free to do what we want on April 15! Instead, we should still take precaution and practice appropriate social distancing as well as hygiene measures. On the other hand, If the government decides to further extend the MCO, let’s stay calm and heed their strategy to help slow the spread of COVID-19.