Shopping center and retail associations call for urgent vaccination of workers

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 27): Shopping center and retail associations have appealed to the government for urgent vaccination of frontline traders against Covid-19.

In a joint statement, the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK), Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) and Bumiputera Retailers Organization (BRO) said they were recently briefed by the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumption. Affairs (MDTCA) that the proposed start of vaccinations for frontline mall workers would be postponed to August, starting in July.

This despite the fact that the MDTCA selected five vaccination sites (PPV) in the Klang Valley.

“Shopping centers and retailers have enthusiastically volunteered to organize PPVs at their premises and, according to our records, 60 to 70 shopping centers have registered and submitted their draft plans to the Ministry of Home Trade and Consumer Affairs. (MDTCA).

This program is specifically aimed at frontline buyers and we understand that over 100,000 employees have already registered their names with MDTCA as of early June 2021. This response indeed indicated that MOSTI has made a fair and timely decision to respond. precisely to current needs, ”the associations said.

As such, they are arguing for an initial start date of July, as all mall staff and retailers are exposed frontliners dealing with transit customers.

As such, they interact with the public on a daily basis and should be vaccinated, not only to protect themselves but also to serve and protect buyers in general without risk or fear, as well as without endangering those they serve.

According to the organizations, 500,000 people are employed in the shopping center and retail sector, and they need at most one million doses of vaccines.

The associations said that 10% of the 10 million doses should be received in July.

“We cannot afford to take the excuse that no vaccination is required immediately, because we have not yet fully reopened, as the entire vaccination process takes at least three weeks,” said they added.

At the same time, the association noted that the shopping center sector accounted for an estimated real estate value of RM 145 billion in December 2020, while the retail sector accounted for 34.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP ) from Malaysia.

Given the significant contributions made by the industry here, associations said it was imperative that its frontline workers be vaccinated because at the moment, it can only rely on home consumption.

In addition, the associations added that shopping malls and retailers are willing to subsidize the logistical costs of administering vaccines to their employees, these costs normally incurred in government-run PPVs being RM60 per person for two. doses (excluding vaccine cost and administration fees payable to Protect Health Corporation).

“Assuming PPVIN vaccinates the 100,000 already registered employees, this would already save the government part of their expenses amounting to RM6 million. With the estimated 500,000 direct employees currently engaged as first buyers, this would save the government RM30 million, which can be wisely spent on purchasing more vaccines.

At the same time, PPVINs would positively contribute to the speed and volume of vaccinations so urgent today, they added.

“It would be a compelling reason in itself to approve the urgent start of our PPVIN without further delay, for a win-win solution for the public and private sectors. It has been proven abroad that the sooner a country obtains collective immunity, the sooner the country can begin its path to economic recovery. Malaysia cannot afford to be left behind, as the whole economy has suffered tremendously since 2020, ”they said.

“Our request for an urgent vaccine allocation for our industry by early July 2021 is not huge, but it will be the miracle solution to get us out of our distress,” the associations concluded.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reportedly said Malaysia would not exit the current phase of the national stimulus package until the thresholds were reached.

These are daily numbers for Covid-19 falling below 4,000, use of intensive care unit beds falling below critical levels and at least 10% of the population being fully vaccinated against Covid -19.

Today, 5,586 new infections have been reported.

Under the first phase of the plan, shopping centers are to close, while only retailers considered essential services such as supermarkets and restaurants are allowed to open.

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Peggy P. Gilmore