Dr Sharifah Suzana Wan Shukran

KUCHING: The state government has been urged to decide the way forward for non-essential sectors greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dewan Usahawan Bumiputera Sarawak (DUBS) deputy chairperson of Dewanita Negeri Dr Sharifah Suzana Wan Shukran said as Covid-19 continues to affect the country, the non-essential sectors continue to be prohibited from resuming operations bringing into questions the future of sectors such as events management, wedding industry, arts and tourism.

“These industries are also terribly affected and this might go on until year end. This Covid-19 crisis has created a chain effect in which many industry players, who have been supporting the umbrella industry, will lose their source of income.

“They include tourism agencies, events and planning companies, master of ceremonies, motivational speakers, fashion designers, tailors, make-up artists, hairstylists, photographers, catering and performers who will have to bear huge losses as their source of income depends on public gathering events.

“What’s worse is that these industry players moved solo and freelance and are not registered under any licensed company. This makes them unqualified to get any assistance from the government which usually caters for registered traders or entrepreneurs,” she said in a statement today.

She also mentioned that the tourism and arts industry players usually benefitted the most during Hari Raya and Gawai Dayak celebrations as they would get huge demands for their products and services.

“Now with the Covid-19 crisis and implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO), these industry players have started to give up on getting any assistance from the government, but what they need most is the ‘way forward’.

“The uncertainty of their future has caused worry among the small enterprises which may lead them to stop operations for good,” she said.

Thus, Sharifah urged the government to make a decision on the future direction of those sectors as well as to create a steady approach for the industry players involved in events industry.

“I also wish to suggest ceremonial industry to be allowed operating in the form of hybrid — featuring a combination of live and virtual components through physical and digital infrastructure.

“In this hybrid model, some people should be allowed to be present at physical locations in compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government, while others can watch the same event online.

“At least this hybrid model will be able to save the events sector from dying,” she said.