Enhanced SOPs to allow businesses to operate

Wan Junaidi presents his proposal to Ismail Sabri.

KUCHING: The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (Medac) had submitted an enhanced health standard operating procedure (SOP) proposal to the government.

This is 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.

The proposal was presented by minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri yesterday.

Wan Junaidi said it was crucial to have clear SOPs in place so that businesses could operate in a safe and controlled manner.

Based on discussions with members of the industry, he said many expressed willingness to operate under stricter SOPs and would cooperate fully with the authorities.

“In fact, they (industry members) are very proactive and cooperative in this. The enhanced SOPs are actually a collaborative effort between the ministry and members of the industry where they too have given input.

“The enhanced SOPs focused on six economic activities under the FCLO categories, which are dining in for food and beverages (F&B), shopping malls, watch shops, pedicure and manicure (grooming services), beauty parlours and hair salons.

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

Among the mandatory procedures proposed – business owners and workers must complete the two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, as well as weekly swab tests and immediate closure of premises for sanitisation should there be any case detected.

Wan Junaidi earlier highlighted that Malaysia’s MSME sector, which accounts for close to 40 per cent of the country’s GDP, was on the brink of collapse should the current nationwide lockdown continue indefinitely.

Based on a MEDAC survey, it is estimated that some 580,000 businesses, representing 49 percent of the MSME sector, are at risk of failing by October.

The closure of these businesses, which are mostly in the FCLO category, would also mean that more than seven million Malaysians are expected to be unemployed, and assuming that each worker has an average of two dependents, it will mean that another 14 million people will be affected.

He added that mental issues were among the areas of concern revealed in the survey, where nearly 60 per cent of entrepreneurs suffered from at least one form of mental health condition during the lockdown.