Business leaders urged to help correct govt missteps as investor groups call for reassessment of SOPs

Business leaders have been urged to stand up and voice out against the wrongs in Malaysia as more parties have called on the government to reassess its standard operating procedures and allay investors’ concerns.

Entrepreneur Datuk Vinod Sekhar said economic leaders should be forthcoming with policy and decision makers to correct their missteps in running the country.

“Imagine them (business leaders) putting some energy into fixing society and dealing with societal development issues, then taking it one step further and having them stand up for, and speaking up for what is right,” said Vinod, who is Petra Group chairman and chief executive.

“Imagine if all of us stood up and took a position, and not worry about not getting government contracts or having an issue with their businesses… It’s a tough thing to do. I have taken that position for a very long time, as my father (Tan Sri B.C. Sekhar) had taught me that good guys win in the end.”

Vinod said this during an online talk, “Nationalism and Patriotism in the Times of Covid-19: Are Malaysia’s Economic Leaders Doing Enough to Save the Country?”, held in conjunction with a joint meeting between the Rotary Clubs of Greater Kuala Lumpur and Paranaque San Dionisio, the Philippines, last night.

He pointed out that businesses controlled the economy of any country and, therefore, the voices of business leaders were very powerful.

“If you can, use it for the right cause, and collectively, to lift our nation. If we can, use it to help our politicians find their way. If you can use it to help our government, perhaps, to realise the errors in certain things that they do, imagine what’s possible.

“But to do that, we all must stand up and speak. And that’s something that’s missing in Malaysian society. Not enough of us that can make that stand, but we have to.

“We talk behind closed doors and say, ‘that’s wrong, stupid or ridiculous, they should not be doing that’. But why are we not saying that out loud?”

He said it was imperative for business leaders to remind the government of its priorities.

“Our government has been too busy worrying about everything else except about what our society really needs. Perhaps their priorities are different. I believe we have to remind them what their priorities should be.”

Today, Pakatan Harapan’s Economic Committee urged the government to re-evaluate its Covid-19 pandemic management approach, which currently relies heavily on sweeping lockdown measures.

The committee said the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration should instead move towards a more targeted approach centred on systematic identification and containment, as such a shift in strategy would inject a degree of certainty and pave the way for gradual reopening of economic activities. This would, in return, safeguard jobs and allay investors’ concerns.

Several investor groups, namely the Japanese Chamber of Trade and Industry Malaysia, Malaysian Dutch Business Council, and Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had called upon Malaysia to reassess its standard operating procedures (SOPs) that disrupted operations and failed to control virus transmissions.

“Therefore, it is pointless for the International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, to embark on trade visits overseas if he and the entire PN administration do not immediately address these fundamental issues, which could potentially drive away existing investors,” said the committee in a statement earlier today.

“Clearly, successfully managing workplace transmissions is an important precursor to reopening Malaysia’s economy across all sectors responsibly. It is time to move past the arbitrary distinction between ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ sector types, as even essential services can be hotbeds of virus infections.

“Instead, adopt a more scientific assessment in accordance with the risk of transmission. Pre-emptive risk assessment means SOPs should focus on improving air quality and ventilation in indoor spaces, as well as treating outdoor spaces as low risk, with adequate social distancing and crowd control measures.

“We should have learnt our lessons from all our prior ‘lockdowns’ that the fight against Covid-19 will never be resolved with simplistic lockdowns,” the committee said.

Today, Malaysia recorded 11,079 new Covid-19 cases. Selangor recorded 5,263 cases, while Kuala Lumpur saw 1,521 cases.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

MALAYSIA’S ECONOMY HEADED FOR RECOVERY, SAYS AZMIN ALI

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said Malaysia is projected to chart better growth this year.

“This (brighter prospect) will also be reflected in the recovery in labour market conditions and higher production in the manufacturing sector, particularly in the electrical and electronics, and the oil and gas facilities,” he said in a keynote address read by his deputy, Datuk Lim Ban Hong, at the Malaysian Economic Summit 2021 webinar.

Azmin added the enhancement of productivity and economic growth would be underpinned by an improvement in the global technology upcycle and policy support through various monetary measures.

MATRADE PARTNERS GOOGLE, BANK ISLAM, TO PROMOTE MALAYSIAN SMES WORLDWIDE

The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) will join forces with Google Malaysia and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd to promote local small, and medium enterprise (SME) exporters worldwide.

The public-private synergy would leverage on shared assets to organise programmes to raise the business community’s competitiveness.

Matrade, in a statement today, said the collaboration is part of the eNational Export Day.

IDCC SHAH ALAM CLOSED TODAY AFTER 204 STAFF GET COVID-19

The vaccination administration centre at IDCC Shah Alam was closed today (for one day only) after 204 of its staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

Khairy Jamaluddin, Coordinating Minister for the Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, ordered the mass screening of workers at the centre on July 10 after two volunteers tested positive for Covid-19. The facility will be disinfected and will reopen tomorrow.

He added those scheduled to get their vaccinations at the centre today would receive new appointment dates.

PEJUANG DENIES WORKING WITH BERSATU

Parti Pejuang Tanah Air said it is not working with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia following claims by certain quarters that the parties were joining forces.

Calling the allegations “fake news”, Pejuang, in a statement this morning, said its chairman, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had repeatedly dismissed such talks and that its political bureau had never discussed such a collaboration.

“Pejuang reiterates that claims of Pejuang and Bersatu joining forces are not true. We are focused on discussing and finding a solution to the Covid-19 (pandemic), health, economic and social issues,” read the statement.

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