Don’t reopen on Monday if you’re not ready, finance minister tells businesses

A bar worker in Changkat Tunku cleans the tables before dine-in operations start on May 4. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A bar worker in Changkat Tunku cleans the tables before dine-in operations start on May 4. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz today said companies can decide for themselves whether they should reopen their businesses on Monday.

In an interview with TV3 today, the former banker said that there was no compulsion in the government’s announcement that most economic activities may resume starting May 4.

He said that based on the data studied, the Malaysian economy can be reopened.

“Firstly, as a government, we must look at the available data. Whether the conditions like I said earlier, those set by WHO, must be fulfilled first. Since we are successful, looking at the data we have, we want to open (the economy).

“But is that bad? No, because we already researched before we open, and what’s important is that we open beginning May 4, but if there are companies or restaurants that are not yet ready, then don’t open.

“We are not forcing companies to open on May 4. I know there are companies that are not prepared, and they also already informed the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) and the government that they will open a week later, because they need to make some investments for temperature checking and others. So that takes time,” he added.

Come Monday, almost all economic sectors and businesses would be allowed to reopen subject to strict conditions in what is termed a conditional movement control order (CMCO), Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday.

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

He said that the government has been suffering RM2.4 billion in losses daily during the MCO, adding that the losses to date are estimated at RM63 billion, with another RM35 billion to come, should the MCO be extended longer.

He said that for the time being, all schools, colleges and universities would remain closed, and that a full list of businesses or activities which are not allowed to run, can be referred to via the National Security Council (NSC) website.

“The list would be updated from time to time, depending on the development of the Covid-19 infection cases,” he added.

The third phase of the MCO is scheduled to only end on May 12 this month.

The prime minister in his address on the eve of Ramadan also did not discount that the MCO could be extended again after May 12 to effectively flatten the Covid-19 infection curve.

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