National Recovery Summit Proceedings Report – Winning the War Against COVID – The Road to Recovery
Published on 09 Sep 2021
With an eye on national recovery and coinciding with the government’s initiative of implementing a National Recovery Plan, on 9th September 2021, KSI and the Economic Club of Kuala Lumpur organised the National Recovery Summit. Ths Summit, held virtually, was designed to provide further clarification and feedback of the NRP’s progress from businesses, civil society, think tanks, experts, and academicians. Takeaways from deliberations can be found in the Summit’s proceedings report below.
- Allegations of forced labour and modern slavery that are affecting plantation and rubber glove manufacturing companies must be addressed through engagement with the United States government to uplift the withhold release orders and reviewing policies on the appointment of foreign recruitment agents.
- A standardised and uniformed SOPs should be implemented for all economic sectors to reopen during the recovery phase. Approval letters should be phased out once vaccination rates are high and depend instead on digital vaccination certificates.
- A concept of corporate accountability towards healthcare on an individual and firm-level should be promoted. Companies should invest in better ventilation systems and consistently take precautionary steps including the provision of indoor air quality report assessments of their factories and offices.
- Covid test kits should be produced domestically and supplied at lower cost to make them affordable for the public. Moreover, the government should enhance the monitoring of disease transmission through automation and data collection.
- The introduction of ceiling prices on medical services has held back the transfer of many complex medical cases from public hospitals to the private hospital creating inefficiencies in the healthcare system. The government should re-examine the reimbursement on selected cases to encourage the private sectors to take up more difficult and costly medical cases.
- The Malaysian government is urged to unfreeze the recruitment of foreigh workers to allow the palm oil industry to optimise production as profits from the industry can be shared with the nation and help in recovery efforts. The archaic tax structure for the palm oil industry should be reviewed as it is currently the most heavily taxed sector in the country that comes in the form of windfall taxes, levies, and cess.
- The government is urged to work closely with industries, NGOs, and entrepreneurs in charting a business outlook for Malaysia in the post-pandemic, to look into the needs of various SME segments and match specific programmes to these SMEs to allow them to build back better in the fastest time possible.
- The entire supply chain ecosystem must be allowed to operate as many companies are part of the global supply chain without making distinctions between essential and non-essential businesses, which has caused much confusion.
- A COVID-19 Liberation Policy should be adopted for the next two years that involves the government suspending regulatory barriers which are constraining businesses in the digital space and the development of digital talent. Regulations should also be relaxed to facilitate investment.
- Enabling grants, such as those encourging businesses to undergo digitalisation, can be given in tranches to spread out financial burdens on public coffers. • Women need to be involved in conversations and decision-making processes in the COVID-19 recovery plan as diversity in ideas is vital for innovative solutions.
- Identity and populist politics must be left behind in Malaysia’s transition into recovery.
- Tertiary education needs to be made more accessible to Malaysians by providing an enabling ecosystem that allows for decisions to be made without the constraints of unrelenting bureaucratic processes.
- It is crucial that a community-centric approach is taken in gearing towards a recovery plan. This requires every person to be involved in empowering community champions on the ground, which in turn will allow Malaysia to deal with issues more effectively, specifically and sustainably, while being culturally sensitive at the same time.
Download the full proceedings report below.