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A motorcyclist rides pass lines of closed shops amid the Movement Control Order. - BERNAMA pic
A motorcyclist rides pass lines of closed shops amid the Movement Control Order. - BERNAMA pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Following the extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO), the Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) has appealed for financial support from the government since business dropped during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Its president James Loke said the retail industry and its members have been gravely affected since the first MCO was announced.

He said sales dropped by as much as 60 per cent in February 2020 and they expected a 90 per cent drop in March due to the partial lockdown.

Loke said he was concerned about the survival of businesses with the MCO extended for another 14 days.

“Many retail businesses are in dire condition and desperately need help, more so with the extension of the MCO for a further 14 days.

“The big questions are ‘How are businesses going to survive? How are retailers going to pay rent? How are employers going to pay staff salaries?’” he said in a statement today.

He said due to limited resources, some retailers and shops may not reopen after April 14 and they still have to pay salaries, rental and statutory contributions despite having no revenue during the MCO period.

He said there will be retrenchment of staff and layoffs, so at this point, cash flow is paramount.

Loke said businesses need a sharp recovery when the Covid-19 outbreak is defeated and for this, the government has to support businesses and workers financially.

He said the MRA is appealing to the government to be generous and unprecedentedly ‘creative’ with its support programme.

“Quick recovery would mean that businesses can pay back the financing taken. The economy cannot recover quickly if companies start to fold and jobs are lost,” he said.

He urged commercial landlords and shopping mall owners to give tenants free rental during the MCO and rebates thereafter, so the rebound can be rapid as the structure of economy remains intact.

He has also called for the government to ensure a well-run health system and adequate supply of medicines for people to obtain health services they need, without financial hardships.

“We want to do our part. The government needs to stand behind us so that we can do more. And we need it now," he said.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in a special address yesterday announced that the MCO, imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, will be extended until April 14.


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