KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 – Putrajaya’s recent decision to allow the economic sector to continue operating even as the country is in the midst of an increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths have sparked a major backlash from the share of citizens.
However, Callum Chen, chairman of the Malaysian Consortium of Mid-Tier Companies (MCMTC) explained that the implications of a full lockdown would be devastating for the country and bring Malaysia to the brink of collapse on itself.
In an exclusive interview with Malaysian courier, Chen – who is also chairman and CEO of LH Plus, Malaysia’s second-oldest plastics manufacturing company, said a good balance between seeking economic stability and preventing the spread of Covid-19 among the Malaysians is a decision the country must make.
âMalaysia is a relatively small country and we depend heavily on exports. When you look at the whole, Malaysia is a very important part of the global supply chain.
âTake, for example, semiconductor chips. Last year Malaysia exported about RM387 billion worth of semiconductor chips, we are one of the big player. But now there is a great shortage of semiconductor chips in the world due to blockages.
âAnd because of this, many large multinational corporations (MNCs) like auto and electronics manufacturers will also have a hard time, which may cause them to seek business opportunities elsewhere,â he said.
Chen explained that mid-size companies like his occupy only 16% of the country’s total workforce, but contribute 39.9% of the overall gross domestic product (GDP) in Malaysia, adding that the closure of the economic sector have a domino effect at all levels of the economy.
âMultinationals rely on mid-size companies, just as mid-size companies rely on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). When you shut down the economy, SMEs are hit the hardest, and when they go out of business, mid-size companies start to struggle, leading to large global companies that rely on these mid-tier setups to keep going. to do business.
âIt affects all levels of the economy. Imagine that you are a boss here, but reporting to your big boss in Europe or America. When you are already very short and have no stock for two weeks, what happens?
âEveryone would scream, and they would walk out the door and replace you with someone else who can do the job, or worse – take the company to other countries like Vietnam or Cambodia – losing a lot of money. ‘money to Malaysia, “he said.
He said if the economic sector was closed the ramifications would be very serious, causing unemployment to rise dramatically as companies relocate operations to other countries, leaving Malaysians worse off than ever.
Chen also said the company also carried out mass screenings on its own initiative as an additional measure to ensure that Covid-19 does not spread among its employees.
He encouraged other companies to do the same to ensure the sustainability of the Malaysian economy.
He added that he had hired a company approved by the Ministry of Health to perform the deep throat saliva test among his employees at a lower price, adding that members of the MCMTC would also be eligible for this to ensure that Mass screenings are carried out in certain locations. of work.
âI told this company, you work with us and prove everything is fine and after that I will recommend you to all MCMTC members. My condition is that all mid-size companies must receive the same price for performing this test, which is RM 150 for eight tests over a four week period.
“That in itself will encourage everyone to do more mass screening because it’s not cheap, but everyone has to be taken into account, to keep the economy running for the well-being of the country.” , did he declare.
Chen added that even his part-time workers have been vetted, saying no one should be left behind and every precaution should be taken to ensure the economy continues.
âSome bosses would say part-time workers don’t need to screen, I said no. We need to be fair to everyone. Some sums should not be saved because imagine, if a part-time worker who has Covid-19 mingles with my full-time workers, it would be catastrophic.
âSo everyone should be tested and we tell them we’re not going to charge them anything, the company will bear the cost. At the end of the day, what’s important is that we want to make sure that everyone those who work in a company are safe.
âAnd as CEO, it is my responsibility to provide a safe and conducive environment for everyone to work,â he said.
He then congratulated Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for listening to the advice given by professional associations such as themselves, the Chamber of Commerce, Eurocham and Amcham to keep the economy open amid calls for a complete lockdown, even from other government departments across the country.
âThe Prime Minister listened to our advice and understood the importance of keeping the economy open. We shared all of our opinions and views and explained the ratification of what a full lockdown would do to the country in the long run.
âMiti was also a big help. They have been working around the clock in three shifts to ensure that the best possible option is available for the survival of the country during this pandemic, âhe said.