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Which industries should restart first?

23 Apr 2020 / 19:07 H.

    WITH the downward trend of new Covid-19 infections and deaths over the past few days, it is reassuring that measures taken by the government have proven to be effective.

    While we should not take things for granted, we must plan for a soft landing so that the sacrifices made are accounted for.

    On average, we lose about RM4 billion a day if all commercial activities ground to a halt. It is too costly when we miss a single step.

    Questions arise over what form the soft landing will take and which industries are allowed to reopen on a staggered basis. The answer lies with how important the particular industries are to the country.

    Priority should be given to those who have the biggest impact on the economy and social conditions. Oil and gas, palm oil, electrical and electronics industries are among the biggest contributors to our national wealth.

    Limited and conditional approval should be given to those industries which are likely to pose the highest risk of infection. These will be premises with big crowds and cramped space, such as food & beverage outlets, entertainment spots and schools.

    The government should work closely with representatives from the respective industries, as they have domain knowledge that will be important for strategic decision making.

    For example, the Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation represents the major players in the industry and has developed a standard operating procedure for its members after they received permission from the government to resume operations during the movement control order period.

    While it is important to continue preserving lives, I think it is time to think seriously how we can keep livelihoods intact as they involve a large number of people.

    We hope we can exit from this pandemic crisis with concrete exit strategies so that we can reduce the impact of an economic fallout.

    SM

    Puchong

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