ACCCIM: Reopening of borders will reinforce sustainable business recovery
08 Mar 2022
The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said the reopening of borders in a safe and responsible manner will be able to “reinforce a sustainable business recovery”.
“ACCCIM welcomes the reopening of our borders to help restore domestic economic and business activities, including tourism, retail, hotels, restaurants and the aviation industry,” it said in a statement today.
“Tourism is one of Malaysia’s foreign exchange earners with total tourist receipts of RM86.1 billion or 5.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 and 26.1 million tourists. From January to September 2021, the number of tourists plunged to 73,309 persons with meagre tourist receipts of RM123 million,” it noted.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today announced that the country will enter into the transition to the endemic phase, with the reopening of borders to international travellers on April 1.
He also announced that the restrictions currently imposed on business premises’ operating hours will be abolished starting on the same date.
Owners of premises could then implement operating hours based on their premises’ operating licence.
“This means that everyone can eat at food and beverage outlets after midnight, especially during the coming month of Ramadan. So, it is possible to have your sahur meals outside,” Ismail Sabri said at a special media conference on the country’s transition to the endemic phase today.
He said the transition phase represents an exit strategy to enable Malaysians to return almost to normal life after a two-year battle with Covid-19.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA) said with the lifting of restrictions such as mandatory quarantine, the country’s goal for a 5.5-6 per cent GDP growth for 2022 is now more realistic.
“The reopening of our borders will significantly aid in the recovery of our economy. Our economy grew by a modest 3.1 per cent last year against a 5.6 per cent decline in 2020, primarily the result of an extended lockdown, coupled with the continued closure of our borders,” it said in a statement.
SAMENTA said the tourism sector will be the largest beneficiary of today’s announcement, but all SMEs will benefit through better facilitation of trade and business.
“The recovery of our SMEs remains fragile. Today’s announcement will help support this recovery, but more help in the form of automation and pre-shipment financing will be needed as productivity and cash flow remain as the key challenges for Malaysian SMEs,” it said.