KUCHING: Malaysian Academy of Science Fellow, Datuk Dr Madeline Berma, has outlined three measures to help the M40 group so that they do not fall into the B40 category, or the B40 group falling into hardcore poor.
According to her, the main thing needed was to control and eradicate Covid-19 infection.
“The first step is to speed up the vaccination process in order to achieve 80 percent herd immunity.
“Second, to conduct Covid-19 swab tests among as many Malaysians as possible like Japan and Korea,” she said recently.
Madeline, who is also Unimas honorary professor, added that Japan and Korea did not implement the movement control order (MCO) or lockdown but conducted swab tests on their citizens.
“If there are people who are positive for Covid-19, then only this group is quarantined.
“In Malaysia, I see the need for a comprehensive Covid-19 swab test among employees in which the cost should be fully borne by the employer.”
Elaborating further, she said the third measure was the emphasis on compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“If health issues can be solved then, the economic sector can be reopened.
“In terms of the economy, full lockdown is the last option that the government needs to do.
“Apart from that, the targeted MCO should only focus on locality with infection and not involve other areas.
“Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), most of whom are from the M40 group, need to be assisted in a targeted manner with continued subsidies.
“For the B40 group who are given cash assistance, the government is proposed to provide assistance on a conditional basis.
“Those who receive the assistance are required to follow courses (related to income generation) to increase the economic resilience of their family,” she explained, adding that the government was also encouraged to increase mega projects such as the Pan Borneo Highway and bridges constructions as they would benefit both the B40 and M40 groups.
The M40 group consists of the M1 group with household income from RM4,850 to RM5,879, M2 (RM5,880 to RM7,099) M3 (RM7,110 to RM8,699) and M4 (RM8,700 to RM10,959).
The B40 group consists of B1 with household income less than RM2,500, B2 (RM2,501 to RM3,170) B3 (RM3,171 to RM3,970) and B4 (RM3,971 to RM4,850).