Jamie Tiew, the president of the Sibu Business Women Association, called on the Sarawak government and the Disaster Management Committee to release COVID-19 green zone from the economic control actions so that businesses can resume their operations under the condition of strictly complying with the standard operating procedures (SOP) for pandemic prevention.
She said that since the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee approved the green zone tuition center and kindergarten to resume operations today (17th), they should also consider the operation of other legal businesses from the same perspective and standpoint to alleviate the economic difficulties faced by the industry in the green zone.
She took the massage center operated by the blind in Sibu as an example. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation, it was ordered to suspend business operation, which caused the disadvantaged members of this society to lose their jobs without any source of income brought hardship to them. Others, such as legitimate massage centers and commercial activities that provide leisure and entertainment, also face the same problem.
She said that "no work no food" is a very real problem especially for low income group. There is no doubt that many people in the state are currently in such a predicament, especially people with disabilities, they need more help, care and love from the relevant authorities.
"Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarawak people are facing the dilemma of complying to pandemic prevention and loss of economy and income, therefore the government should take a more intelligent and empathetic perspective to evaluate financial problems faced by the people of Malaysia, especially Sarawak, before issuing an order. "
"I very much agree with strengthening the control of the red and yellow epidemic areas. However, because of this approach, extending all control regulations to the green area indiscriminately is not an appropriate and wise approach because it will be seriously affect the operation of the entire business and it’s economy."
She said that an one-for-all package of Covid-19 pandemic control measures will not benefit the economic development of the state and will put more businesses into the predicament of helplessness or even closure. Therefore, the extended increase in the unemployment rate is another shockingly negative social phenomenon.
Zhao Yanfang emphasized that strengthening the standard operating procedures for Covid-19 pandemic prevention is a necessary measure recognized by the majority of the people. Therefore, under the premise of public health, the relevant practices are worthy of support and strict compliance.
"I believe that the industry in the green zone will also base on the health and interests of themselves and the public, and will not arbitrarily relax the standard operating procedures for epidemic prevention. After all, once an accident occurs, the industry will bear the brunt. Not only will they face health threats, they will also face the doom of closure. ."
At the same time, the government can also strengthen supervision within the regulations to ensure that the commercial activities in the Green Zone are following the epidemic prevention standards, and prohibit businesses operation that ignore and undermine epidemic prevention measures. "I firmly believe that most industry players are willing to strictly abide by the SOP."
Zhao Yanfang hopes that the government and the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee will listen to the voices of the people and industry with a more reasonable and open attitude, and treat their financial pressures with empathy, and adopt feasible methods to restore economic activities in the Green Zone and ease the economic burden of people.
She believes that the government can rationally refer to countries and regions with successful Covid-19 pandemic prevention, such as New Zealand and Taiwan, so as to learn from the experience of these countries, to strengthen pandemic prevention, and at the same time to revitalize Sarawak's economy.
"The Sarawak government has set the economic growth target for next year. However, this requires private economic power as support. However, the current private economic and commercial activities are near to zero due to the pandemic. The government must revamp its Covid-19 Pandemic control measures according to different zones status, otherwise economic growth target will become empty talk!"