KUALA LUMPUR – The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) has urged entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the various assistance, incentives, and programmes under the ministry and its agencies to remain competitive in today’s challenging business environment.
Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said informal business entrepreneurs are also encouraged to register with the relevant authorities so that all the allocations and assistance available could be channelled to the eligible recipients.
“We are now living in the post-COVID-19 era. Lots of things around us are changing and we have to accept and adapt to the new norm. In business, it is all about survival of the fittest.
“Entrepreneurs need to continuously equip themselves with new knowledge and skills, not only for their businesses’ survival but also to take advantage of the many new opportunities,” he said in a statement on January 17.
According to the ministry’s surveys, some of the major challenges that entrepreneurs will face during the Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0 are cash flow constraints and lower sales volume.
These are largely due to the decline in customer demand as well as the shorter business operating hours.
The supply chain may also be affected by logistical issues and delays in delivery of raw materials as a result of the restricted movements, he said.
Wan Junaidi said the micro and informal entrepreneurs would be most affected by cash flow constraints as they do not have much savings to cover business operational costs, such as employee salaries, rental, and utility bills.
Business activities in the tourism, agriculture, wholesale as well as retail sectors are also expected to be significantly affected by the MCO 2.0 and the nationwide state of emergency.
“In addition, the emergency proclamation may cause ‘force majeure’ — unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract and would result in losses to entrepreneurs.
“It could also affect investors’ confidence in the country’s business landscape which could potentially cause a domino effect on the stock market as well as foreign direct investment,” he said.
However, despite all these risks, Wan Junaidi is optimistic about seeing the positive effects from the current situation, namely, in terms of increasing online demand and supply of products and services.
Citing a report by the Companies Commission of Malaysia for the January-September 2020 period, he pointed out that although 41,349 businesses closed down during the period, there were also 299,431 new business registrations, of which 86,295 were online businesses.
Meanwhile, he also urged the people to strictly adhere to the MCO’s standard operating procedures to drastically and effectively help flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread and subsequently allow economic activities to return to normal.
“There is no other way to sugar-coat the situation. Further extension of the MCO would affect the economy… and the ones who would be severely hit are the B40 group, including micro and informal business operators,” he added.