KUALA LUMPUR: Under the current pressing pandemic situation when public health and safety are at their most critical, drastic measures need to be taken to avert a crisis that could affect national security.
Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) believes the partial conditional movement control order (MCO) is not effective to reduce the rise of Covid-19 cases. Instead, the uncertainty only makes it more challenging to plan and execute work in an effective manner.
Hence, a full MCO similar to MCO 1.0 for a specific period is necessary to break the chain and curb the wave driven by a more infectious Covid-19 variant. On the other hand, PAM is equally concerned with the continuous challenges suffered by businesses and employers who are affected by the MCO.
In fighting the virus, the public and private sector have to work hand in hand to preserve jobs and ensure businesses survive for long term job security instead of one-off subsidy to individuals. In such circumstance, the implementation of MCO needs to be accompanied with the following measures:
1) Economic Stand Still model – six-month loan repayment moratoriums and utility bill deferments to reduce operational costs to businesses and individual expenses.
2) Lateral cost-sharing policy – 25% reduction in business properties rental, residential property rental, private employees and public servant wages.
3) Residential properties utility bill rebate or discount up to 25% to support employees working from home and students studying from home.
4) Subsidised high-speed internet throughout the MCO period to encourage working from home.
5) Expedite vaccination programme with tax claimable incentives for private vaccination initiatives.
6) Special grant or tax relief for digitalisation and automation of businesses to increase productivity including hardware and software.
7) To amend Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 as recommended by the construction industry stakeholders to include provision for the general extension of time and cost-sharing for Covid-19 related and preventive measures provisions.
8) To allow digital transmission of documents and online payment transactions, including submission of tender, application for plan approval, submission of reports, plan fee payment, development charges and others.
9) To allow virtual meetings and discussion with and among local authorities and regulators without the need to be physically present and/or queuing at the service counter, and to ensure continuity of statutory approval process without delay.
10) To allow selected essential services and critical construction, maintenance and repair works to continue to prevent the risk to safety and health if it is not attended to. Subsequent to the MCO, selected economic sectors with low-risk business activities may gradually resume while others may need to remain with a combination of remote and on-site working for a longer period.
PAM anticipates that a full MCO coupled with expedient vaccination rollout will be able to curb the spread of infection and enable the transition toward normalcy and herd immunity.