JOHOR BARU: Business groups have called on Malaysians to adhere to the standard operating procedure to avoid another Covid-19 wave as the country cannot afford another long lockdown.

Johor Indian Business Association (Jiba) president P. Sivakumar said Malaysians did not have to look very far as Singapore was currently experiencing a surge in new cases there.

“For the past few months, Singapore seemed to have the Covid-19 situation under control, but now, new cases are in the thousands.

“This shows that we should always be cautious even though many restrictions have been eased by the government,” he said here yesterday.

He called on the authorities here to always carry out inspections at premises to ensure everyone observed the SOP.

“Authorities must always be on their toes and Malaysians should not take things easily as we cannot afford another movement control order as it will definitely cause our economy more harm,” he added.

Sivakumar also urged local companies to hire more Malaysians to help address the unemployment rate in the country.

He said companies should offer jobs with good monthly salaries to locals who were desperate for jobs as this would help revive Malaysia’s economy.

Meanwhile, Johor South SMEs Association adviser Teh Kee Sin said the pandemic was a global issue; no one should be blamed for the spread of the virus.

“We welcome the announcement by Health director-general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah that our government would come out with more strategies.

“Some key decisions have to be led by the government, such as the recent easing of travel restrictions,” he said.

Teh said many people’s livelihoods were affected due to the long lockdown as many were unable to work and had their social lives disrupted.

He added that business activities were forced to stop and many small medium enterprises (SMEs) were still reeling from income loss.

“SMEs in Johor hope that our government speeds up negotiation with our neighbour from across the Causeway so that the two land borders reopen soon as we are highly dependent on Singapore for our business,” he said.