KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Employers Association urges the state government to adopt a different approach with the National Recovery Plan.
Its president yap Cheen Boon said barring no shortage of vaccines, soon more and more Sabahans are being innoculated; notching commendable milestone on the fight against the pandemic.
“SEA believes that the current National Recovery Plan is becoming irrelevant for Sabah’s context, as the measurables are strict on saving lives – number of cases, ICU bed occupancy and percentage of innocuous citizens, but lost on propping up livelihoods.
“According to records to date that most infections purportedly happen within social environments, and not within business compounds,” he said in a statement.
“Phase one imposed almost one month ago has been harsh on the economy, albeit a necessary move to curb the seemingly runaway pandemic.
Sabah’s economy is dominated by service sector, comprising almost half, with oil & gas, agriculture making up 40 per cent, and manufacturing taking up 7 per cent and construction 3 per cent.
Yap said many businesses within the main service sector have been deemed non essential due to categorical definition, and forced to close up, resulting in a dampening effect on the economy.
These include services that do support allowed essential sectors such as vehicle service and parts, stationery and printing, construction supplies to name a few.
“The continued absence of support services and industries to open and support essential industries will have devastating ripple effect; rising prices due to restricted supply and services, inefficiency within supply chain leading to lapsed delivery cycles, collapsed companies with more layoffs leading to rising unemployment.
“To continue limiting any sector of economy from operations, be them related or not related to essential sectors will see domino implications eventually affecting everyone within the ecosystem, as aggregatedly demand and supply will be skewed.
“As such SEA believes that instead of waiting for Phase Two’s measurables are met and implemented which by then will still be too restrictive as only a few more industries are allowed to open, the state government should adapt the plan to suit Sabah’s context: initiate Phase 1.5 after 28th June, where ALL businesses are allowed to open, but with strict SOPs to be abided by, and enforced without recourse by authorities.”
Proven SOPs that work are limited workforce number, restricted operating hours, controlled inter-district travel, and minimised social interaction occurrences such as no dine in, limited capacity MICE activities.
This will see resuscitated economic activities concurrent with mass vaccinations, and not adopting one measure belatedly after another, which by then will be too late for many businesses, thus bringing positive preservation effects on both livelihood and lives for Sabah.