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A row of shops that are closed are seen in SS15 on Day 1 of the movement control order (MCO) in Kuala Lumpur January 13, 2021. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
A row of shops that are closed are seen in SS15 on Day 1 of the movement control order (MCO) in Kuala Lumpur January 13, 2021. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — Authorities must be more consistent when lifting restrictions under the National Recovery Plan, said the Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta) when noting contradictions in today’s announcement.

Among others, it said the decision to allow some types of businesses to reopen while denying others that were very similar in nature was questionable, noting for example that furniture outlets may resume operations tomorrow but not those selling carpets.

“Are carpet shops inherently more dangerous than furniture shops? What if a shop sells both furniture and carpets?” Samenta chairman Datuk William Ng said in a statement.

Ng’s group reiterated its call for the government to do away with arbitrary distinctions as a way of classifying businesses, saying this should be replaced with a single metric based on the capacities of business outlets, regardless of sector.

It further suggested linking this to vaccination as a way of encouraging more rapid adoption of Covid-19 vaccines, saying that the capacities could use the number of fully vaccinated staff and patrons as its key metric.

Samenta went on to urge the government to unify all regulations related to Covid-19 under a single entity to ensure consistent regulation and communications, noting that this was currently fragmented due to the involvement of various ministries each overseeing affairs under its purview.

“This has caused some businesses to fall into cracks or ‘no man land’ as their businesses are not ‘under any ministry’,” Ng said.

This morning, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that 11 types of businesses will be allowed to operate starting tomorrow in states within Phase One of the NRP that have vaccinated at least 50 per cent of their adult populations.

The 11 businesses are barbers and hair salons for basic haircuts only, car wash shops, electrical shops, shops selling household appliances and kitchen supplies, furniture shops and sports equipment shops.

He also announced that 11 more business activities would be allowed to resume under Phase Two of the NRP, such as photography and photo services shops, second-hand item shops, flower shops and plant nurseries, handicraft and souvenir shops, and antique shops, among others.  

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