The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) is currently in talks with the National Security Council (MKN) to put micro entrepreneurs and informal business operators in the priority list for the vaccination programme.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said majority of these business operators are in the service sectors that directly deal with the public, and as such they too should be recognised as frontliners.
He said for the national immunisation programme to be truly effective, MKN must also acknowledge sectors – other than health, security and defence – with similarly high level of exposure to Covid-19 spread.
This also include the front liners working in economic sector, such as those working at the counters in banks, the customer service staffs as well as petty traders selling food and beverages to the public.
“When I was appointed as the minister of MEDAC, my priority is to look into the interest of micro and informal businesses because their plight and grievances are rarely heard and yet they account for a huge portion of the SME sector.
“These groups are the ones who are closely dealing with the public, which makes them highly exposed to the spread of the virus. They too should be given priority to get the vaccination.
“We hope MKN can assist us in this,” he said.
Wan Junaidi said both he and MEDAC Secretary-General Datuk Suriani Ahmad have written to The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) to arrange for vaccinations for the micro and informal business operators.
“MEDAC top management will discuss this matter with representatives from Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) this Friday on how we can help these group to get vaccinated,” he added.
There are currently close to 2 million micro and informal businesses all over the nation, which provides employment to more than 7 million people. More than 78 per cent of the country’s SME sector comprise of micro businesses.