KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — The full closure of the manufacturing sector, which contributes more than RM1 trillion in exports annually, will adversely affect the country’s economy, says Economic Action Council executive director Prof Tan Sri Noor Azlan Ghazali.
He instead advocated for stricter targeted action and enforcement to be implemented on factories that do not comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as well as those with an increase in Covid-19 cases among their employees.
“When we talk about clusters, we often refer to the manufacturing, construction, retail and several other categories. Actually, if look at it in context, clusters only account for around 15 to 20 per cent (of the total cases).
“However, to interpret in a way that all factories should be closed, that is not right. Not all factories are facing soaring cases,” he said in an interview published in the Sinar Harian newspaper today.
He said factories in the country were an important source of economic growth as most of them were in the international supply chain, and unnecessary closures would affect the production of the giant corporations.
Noor Azlan said apart from that, the government’s seven economic stimulus packages worth about RM530 billion, with around RM83 billion in direct injections such as the Wage Subsidy Programme and Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat, could stimulate economic growth and help the people’s survival.
He said the direct fund injection was equivalent to two years of government development expenditure, and it had up to a three-fold multiplier effect on the national economy.
“Imagine if I am from a BPR recipient’s family and I shop, it means that in the first round it may benefit the grocery shop where I purchase the items. As for the grocery shop, it purchases goods to stock up in the shop, which will be the second round and so on,” he said.
He explained that all economic stimulus packages launched by the government took into account various aspects, with a specific focus on vulnerable groups.
Meanwhile, commenting on the suitability of according special privileges to those who have been fully vaccinated, such as permission to go to work, he said the matter should be considered based on several factors to help the country’s economic growth.
“We have to remember, when people move, they spend,” he said. — Bernama