Medac proposes enhanced SOPs to speed up reopening of MSME sector

PETALING JAYA: The Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry (Medac) has proposed enhanced standard operating procedures (SOPs) to the government to expedite the reopening of the MSME sector, particularly those in the first-to-close, last-to-open (FCLO) category.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar stated that the ministry fully supports the opening of more economic activities and the need for clear SOPs in place for businesses to operate in a safe and controlled manner.

Based on discussion with the industry, he relayed that many are willing to operate under stricter SOPs and will give their full cooperation to the authorities.

“The enhanced SOPs prepared by Medac is actually a collaborative effort between the ministry and members of the industry where they too, have given input,” said Wan Junaidi in a statement today.

The proposal focuses on six economic activities under the FCLO categories: food and beverages dine-in, shopping malls, watch shops, pedicure and manicure (grooming services), beauty parlour/salon and barber/hair salon.

Almost half of the business activities identified are owned by women – among the groups most affected by the nationwide lockdown.

In regard to the proposal, the SOP recommendations entail a comprehensive set of guidelines which includes staff and customer management, operating hours and premises maintenance to comply with Covid-19 safety requirements.

Among the procedures recommended are vaccine completion by business owners and workers, weekly swab test, as well as the immediate premise closure and sanitisation upon detection of Covid-19 cases.

The minister reiterated that Malaysia’s MSME sector, which accounts for almost 40% of the country’s GDP, is on the brink of collapse if the current lockdown continues indefinitely.

A survey conducted by Medac found an estimated 580,000 businesses accounting for 49% of the MSME sector are at risk of failure, if they are not allowed to resume operations by then. If such a business closure were to take place, more than seven million Malaysians are expected to be unemployed.