Entertainment

Malaysia at Risk of Losing Another 250,000 Jobs If Nightlife Outlets Remain Shut

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Industries Unite are asking the government to save these jobs by allowing entertainment outlets to resume operations under Phase Four of the NRP.

Trade group coalition Industries Unite, have addressed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Yaakob and the National Security Council (NSC) in an open letter today, imploring the government to allow the reopening of pubs, bars, and nightlife establishments in states under Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

The coalition also stated that these businesses should have the right to operate as over 94% of the country’s adult population have been fully vaccinated, and the government has declared Covid-19 an endemic issue.

“We are extremely perturbed that even under the final Phase Four, there is still a negative list including nightclubs and pubs not being allowed to open.

“There is absolutely no information on the route to exit the negative list. We feel that the negative list may have inadvertently not been abolished, and it is of utmost urgency to do so,” read the letter.

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The coalition is positive that entertainment businesses are fully capable of operating under strict compliance with Covid-19 safety SOPs.

“With the opening up of interstate travel and domestic tourism currently, we envisage the opening up to international tourism soon and the entertainment sector including nightclubs and pubs will be sought after by international tourists, as well.

“If this sector is being allowed to be destroyed and does not rehabilitate sufficiently to operate, our country will lose out one of the perks for international tourists in competition to our neighbouring countries as a travel destination,” it added.

Without these businesses, about 150,000 to 250,000 jobs are estimated to be at risk that would bring out “total annihilation” if lost, placing an additional mammoth burden of unemployment on the government. As it is, most entertainment centres such as karaoke joints, pubs, and nightclubs have been forcibly closed since the start of the first movement control order (MCO) in March 2020.

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In June 2021, the Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association (RBOA) reported that over 1,000 entertainment centres had to permanently shutter their premises after enduring continued closure due to lockdown procedures.

However, an unknown number of businesses have been fortunate to stay open due to functioning as a restaurant with the respective license.

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Business owners no longer feel that the government’s reason for keeping entertainment businesses closed citing low lighting and small, enclosed spaces make it hard for SOPs to be maintained, isn’t feasible anymore. In response, they are quite positive that government mandated SOPs can be adhered to just like any other F&B outlet that has been given the green light to operate.




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