CMCO impact on businesses depend on duration

A crowd dwindling India Street pedestrian mall. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: The extent of impact of the resurgence of Covid-19 on businesses would depend on the length of imposition of movement control order (MCO) or conditional movement control order (CMCO), outbreak containment progress, and availability of vaccines for the people.

In saying this, Sarawak Business Federation secretary-general Jonathan Chai Voon Tok said the sudden surge in the number of positive cases recently had put a dent in the hope for a sooner recovery for the economy.

“Of course, any form of MCO will affect businesses, especially the food and beverage and retail outlets because of the tightened standard operating procedure (SOP) and shorter business hours,” he said when contacted today (Jan 12).

However, he believed that the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) had consulted and considered sufficient expert opinions from the Health Department and the Health Ministry in order to come to this difficult decision under such extraordinary circumstances.

“This is not a choice between life and economy but a decision with balancing between life and livelihood – a decision that you couldn’t possibly please everyone with,” he said.

He said it was a wise move for SDMC to impose CMCO in red zones in Sarawak, even though Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced that Sarawak and Perlis would be the only states under the recovery movement control order (RMCO).

“Looking at the rising number of positive cases detected over the last few days, especially with three digits registered for the first time on Monday (Jan 11), there is every reason for us to stay vigilant and remain cautious.

“I think it is understandable and rational for the government to have come to such a decision,” said Chai, who is also Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCGCCI) secretary-general.

On Monday (Jan 11), SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas announced that a 14-day CMCO would be implemented in Kuching, Sibu, and Miri zones effective Wednesday (Jan 13) in view of the spike in Covid-19 cases across the state.