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233. Tourism, SMEs to bear brunt of MCO 2.0, says govt

PETALING JAYA: The Statistics Department says the re-implementation of the movement control order (MCO 2.0) will pose some ramifications to Malaysia’s economic recovery trajectory.

While the economy is expected to remain on course for recovery, chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the ban on interstate travel and tighter restrictions on business operations would leave “undesirable” economic effects.

He said tourism-related industries will have to endure further challenges in keeping their businesses afloat, while those involved in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are set to face reductions in earnings.

“Tourism-related industries have suffered a loss with our international borders closed to foreign tourists since March 18 last year, compelling Malaysia to turn to the domestic market.

“However, the current pandemic scenario has forced the government to restrict interstate travel around Malaysia to flatten the infection curve.

“Furthermore, individuals involved in SME businesses would be the most affected to withstand the setbacks due to reduction in earnings, especially those connected to tourism-related industries, and night traders,” he said in a statement today.

Uzir said the 22 initiatives in the RM15 billion Permai aid package will help in easing the people’s difficulties and maintaining business continuity during MCO 2.0.

As the unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.8% in November, he said, there was a decline in employed persons in tourism-related sectors such as food and beverages and accommodation, as well as transport and storage, arts, entertainment and recreation.

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