MEDAC submits proposed enhanced SOPs to expedite opening of MSME sector

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) today submitted a proposed Enhanced Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to the government to help speed up the opening of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, particularly the FCLO (First to Close Last to Open) category, safely.

In a statement, its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pix) said the proposal focused on six economic activities under the FCLO categories, namely food and beverages (F&B dine-in), shopping malls, watch shops, pedicure and manicure (grooming services), beauty parlour/salons, and barber/hair salons.

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

He said many have expressed willingness to operate under stricter SOPs and would give full cooperation to the authorities and enforcement team.

“In fact, they (industry members) are very proactive and cooperative in this. The enhanced SOPs prepared by MEDAC is a collaborative effort between the ministry and both parties,“ he said.

The proposed Enhanced SOPs was handed over by Wan Junaidi to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Meanwhile, the SOPs entail a comprehensive set of guidelines from handling customers, managing staff, operating hours, as well as premises maintenance to ensure all comply with the post-Covid-19 safety requirements.

Among the proposed mandatory procedures are ensuring business owners and workers complete two doses of Covid-19 vaccination jabs; weekly Covid-19 swab test; and immediate closure of premises for sanitisation purposes should there be any case of Covid-19 detected.

Wan Junaidi said Malaysia’s MSME sector, which accounts for close to 40 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), is on the brink of collapsing should the current nationwide lockdown continue indefinitely.

Based on a survey conducted by MEDAC, it is estimated that some 580,000 businesses, representing 49 percent of the MSME sector, are at risk of failing by October if they are not allowed to open up their operations by then.

“The closure of these businesses would also mean that over seven million Malaysians are expected to be unemployed.

“Assuming that each worker has an average of two dependents, it will mean that another 14 million people will be affected by this situation,“ he said.

MEDAC conducted a survey from June 15-28, 2021 on entrepreneurs to gauge the impact of the Movement Control Order (MCO) 3.0 on the entrepreneurship landscape in Malaysia.

It found that nearly 60 percent of the total of 6,664 respondents suffer from at least one form of mental health condition during the lockdown.

The top three factors affecting the mental health condition of the entrepreneurs include decline and loss of income, debt and financing issues, as well as the risk of business closure. — Bernama