Forever Movement Control Order (FMCO)
Malaysia has undergone approximately 300 days of lockdown since the first lockdown was imposed in March 2020.
Under Muhyiddin’s PN team, not only the number of COVID-19 cases did not reduce but quadrupled to 17k cases per day from 4k cases per day in Jan 2021 and has surpassed 1 million cases on 26 July 2021. Yet this is only the beginning of rising cases and Malaysia is expected to surpass 2 million total cases in less than 60 days.
So moving forward, what should the Rakyat and Businesses anticipate?
1. Operation Surge Capacity a Failure
The Operation Surge Capacity was announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin & coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin on 16 July which promised that the government would ensure that every adult resident of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur aged 18 and above will receive at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by Aug 1.
As of today 29 July, Selangor first dose vaccination is at only 43% with 3 days to 1 Aug 2021. That’s another 3,000,000 people in Selangor (excluding undocumented migrants and illegal immigrants) still waiting for their 1st appointment! At a daily vaccination rate of 160,000 doses, it will take another 19 days (17 Aug 2021) to achieve.
However, the plan was doomed to fail from the start as those who participated in the Operation Surge Capacity meeting told there were no concrete plans on how to achieve it yet eagerly announced by the Prime Minister for the sake of getting the merit for himself.
2. Do Not Trust Government’s Projection
Under PN, the Government has been spreading more “fake news” than fake news portals. From SOP to Lockdown, Projections Case, Durian Farm Meeting, Spanish Fly – all turned out vastly different than in reality. Remember the lockdown is to reduce cases? No more lockdown when they announce lockdown in Jan? All Selangor citizens will receive 1st dose by Aug? PM extend lockdown as cases are still above 4k per day?
In a nutshell, for any timeline announcement by the Gov, make sure to expect at least 2 months delay to be on the safe side.
3. Malaysia will move to Phase 3 even if daily cases is higher than 4,000
Under FMCO, the gov allowed factories that contributed 80% of Covid-19 cases to operate while wishfully think cases will drop. How naive or stupid are they? While the other 90% of businesses are forced to remain close, businesses are closing down, more people are losing jobs and an increasing number of Malaysians couldn’t put food on their table.
Decisions will no longer be based on the number of COVID-19 cases since the Government has no ability nor the desire to reduce it. It is projected Malaysia will move to Phase 3 once we have reached 50% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Malaysia’s fully vaccinated rate is at 19% as of today. At the current vaccination pace of 550,000 doses daily with 57% (313k) first dose and 43% (287k) second dose, Malaysia should reach 50% fully vaccination by 4 September and 70% by 5 October 2021.
Estimated Announcement Period: 4 Sep to 5 Oct 2021
4. Relaxation of Fully Vaccinated People
The Government is set to announce the easing of restrictions for fully vaccinated people. We are expecting the announcement to be made when 50-70% of Malaysians have received their first dose of vaccination. At the moment the first dose rate is at 39% and expecting to achieve 50% first dose vaccination by 8 August and 70% by 31 August 2021
Estimated Announcement Period: 8 Aug to 31 Aug 2021
5. Living with COVID-19
Unfortunately, we have to realise that we might be living with COVID-19 forever or at least 3 years. The best way to safeguard yourself and your family is by vaccination as soon as possible regardless of any brand. We can always add on a booster of the preferred brand in future.
Countries even China and New Zealand must realise once the borders reopen, there will be bound to have imported COVID-19 cases. Unless they choose to isolate themselves forever. So how many cases each country could accept to live comfortably with it?
How being fully vaccinated is able to reduce our risk of contracting COVID-19 Category 4 and 5?
- Assuming 1 out of 10 Malaysian has COVID-19
- 1.4% of patients are under Cat 4 and 5
- Only 0.0008% Fully Vaccinated People under Cat 4 & 5
The risk greatly reduced from 0.14% for unvaccinated to fall under category 4 & 5 to just 0.00008% for a fully vaccinated person.
6. Why business should stay Defensive when Economy Reopens
- A Different Situation
The situation differs greatly from the first RMCO where Malaysia recorded 0 cases. We will be reopening with high daily cases of more than 10k. Hence concern of safety is still high hence demand will be much lower.
- Malaysians are poorer
After 1 & half years of lockdown, many Malaysians especially in Tourism, Aviation, Entertainment have been retrenched, suffered pay cut, depleted their savings and struggling to cope with their bank commitments. The purchasing power of the middle class has been greatly reduced due to the prolong lockdown.
The micro, small & medium enterprises sustained RM40.70b losses in 2020 due to nationwide lockdown ~ the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC)
- More potent Delta Variant
Even fully vaccinated, some people will still be concern with the Delta Variant and how reliable is our governments data.
Survey shows despite the reopening of economy, 35% of people will still be hessitant to attend big events, social gatherings or crowded places. People would be more selective in participating events or activities with crowds.
- Not all Family Members are vaccinated
Malaysia have yet to start vaccinating citizens aged 18 and below hence families with children and/or baby might be restricted or they chose not to move around freely.
7. Government must start to gradually reopen the economy
The government should no longer categorize essential and non essential businesses as the business supply chain does not work that way. For example, allowing construction sector to open but forcing steel sector to close. How would the construction proceed without steel components? It is known as LPPL effect, drowning all Malaysian businesses.
Instead the government should allow businesses to reopen after a percentage of their staffs are fully vaccinated. For example a minimum of 30% fully vaccinated staffs and remaining 20% must at least receive 1st dose of vaccine to start operation at 50% capacity. Operating capacity to increase according to the percentage of fully vaccinated staffs. This would motivate bosses to have their staffs especially foreign workers to be vaccinated as soon as possible.