KUALA LUMPUR: The sudden announcement of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in the Klang Valley has left businesses big and small scrambling for solutions while waiting for the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be published.
For instance, Nando’s Malaysia came up with a special offer on Oct 13, 2020, a day before the CMCO, to clear off its surplus of fresh chicken in all of its affected outlets in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya.
It received such an overwhelming response that most of its outlets’ excess chicken had ran out.
Other restaurants also dished out discounts and various deals to offload stocks that was planned for the normal operating hours.
Small traders were not left out either.
While household names and established restaurants had the strength of their marketing team and social media engagement, the small traders received the support of good samaritans that called on and reminded people on the livelihoods of these businesses.
“Go buy from the hawkers and small businesses today. They might not be able to operate for the next two weeks,” read one of the many posts on Facebook and other social media platforms as the CMCO in the Klang Valley was announced to be enforced from Oct 14 to Oct 27, 2020.
Although there was a little confusion at the beginning, it was cleared later that under the CMCO, eateries are allowed to open for business but customers are encouraged to take away, just as companies are advised to allow its employees to work from home.
But the 48 hours between the announcement of the CMCO and of it taking effect revealed that one need not have big data analytics or a degree in economics to understand on how such decisions would effect incomes at every level of the society.
Klang Valley folks gave all their support they could to help businesses, especially eateries, big and small.
It doesn’t matter if it was a sincere effort to help or they were taking advantage of the knee-jerk deals and discounts or vice versa, but without a doubt it could have saved someone’s job or given a small trader the assurance it needed.
This is a fine example that until the borders are open and things go back to pre-COVID-19 level, it is going to be Malaysians supporting Malaysians.
Or the word “locknomics” can be coined – where majority of the businesses are now more reliant on each other than before and confined to the respective area, district, state, and country.
Lest we forget, just two months ago, we were talking about a “V-shaped” recovery for the economy as the number of new COVID-19 cases fell to single digit and those under treatment were below 200.
Now, we will perhaps end up experiencing a “K” type revival whereby only some sectors see progress, while others continue to drift south.
As at the time of this article, Malaysia recorded 6,323 active COVID-19 cases and 176 dead.
We almost won the war against the invisible but deadly virus but a few fellows flaunting the SOPs have brought us back to ground zero.
Sabah is among the worse-affected states in Malaysia with 5,797 cases recorded to-date, of which 2,322 have recovered.
According to reports, the Malaysian Health Coalition has called on the Health Ministry to deploy “overwhelming assistance” to Sabah to manage the state’s surging cases.
To quote the Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah: “It is true without a shadow of doubt our greatest challenge is the non-compliance to SOPs and complacency at all levels.”
Forget the “new norm” of mask, social distancing and quarantine for a second and here we are dealing with more places falling into red zones.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest World Economic Outlook said that social distancing will very well continue into 2021 and subsequently fade over time as vaccine coverage expands and therapies improve.
Local transmission is assumed to be brought to low levels everywhere by only at the end of 2020, it said.
Hence, as aptly said by Dr Noor Hisham, public health and safety cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by better understanding.
“Our country can be a safer place if we all understand each other with lesser misunderstandings. More importantly be united to fight against our common enemy COVID-19.”
And understand we must to fight the pandemic, safeguard lives and livelihoods of non other than our fellow Malaysians. — Bernama