A time to be compassionate and reasonable

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

By Michael Tay, Johor MCA Government Coordinating Affairs chairman.

I met my friend just now.  He had started his first business at the age of 18.   He’s 50 now and has several shop lots in two shopping malls.

Brian (not his real name) is feeling very stressed as he has received a letter from the management of one of his shop lots, reminding him to pay his rental.

Brian’s business at that mall has not exactly been profitable even before the pandemic simply because the rental was RM10,000 per month and he has three workers, each earning RM1,500, and then there were the taxes.

And with the onslaught of Covid-19, Brian is at a loss as to what he should do next.  The management said they could reduce the rental on the condition that he extends the lease for another two years, or take up additional shop lots which are currently vacant.

I am also a landlord and over the years, I have forged friendships with my tenants.  Since the lockdown started on March 18, I have reduced the rental by 30 to 50 per cent. This is the time to support tenants, not  give them a hard time.  If banks and landlords are going to be uncompromising, they are going to “kill” businessmen like Brian. 

Brian also found out that he was not entitled to any of the incentives in the  government’s stimulus package as his sales turnover exceeded RM100,000.  When Brian approached several local banks for a loan, he also did not get an encouraging answer to his problem.

He has to pay his workers and the rental, and yet he cannot operate the business.  I hope landlords, banks and even the government will look into the plight of people like Brian who are at their wits’ end right now. If they are “destroyed”, this is not going to help our economy.

Please save our local entrepreneurs as they are the ones who are providing jobs for the people.

For those who have savings and cash to spare, now is a good time to enter Bursa Malaysia as share prices have plunged. It’s time to snap up some blue chips.  

Shoppers will venture to malls again when our hospitalisation rates have reached a plateau or when someone can assure us that those who are asymptomatic cannot spread the disease and whether there is going to be a second wave.Until that happens, we should shop online.  But I want to caution online shoppers to verify the seller’s authenticity first before making any purchases as I have also heard many stories about frauds and scams, but I shall leave that story for another day.

Medical infrastructure in place

Michael Tay

By Michael Tay, Johor MCA Government and Coordinating Affairs chairman.

I would like to thank China for sending a team of medical experts to Malaysia to help us fight the coronavirus pandemic.

I see a ray of hope as this team can shed light on how their patients were treated and hopefully, this will boost the recovery rate of our patients. This team could also share with us their experience and knowledge

This is crucial now, as all credible information should be given to the scientific community so that there can be a coronavirus model.

With Malaysia’s population standing at 32.6 million, the number of Covid-19 cases is not alarming as we observe social distancing and we are not densely populated.

I also have nothing but praises for Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, our Director-General of Health, who has been giving regular clear concise updates on the Covid-19.  This neutralises fear and deters baseless speculations, as the public is kept well informed.

Many people want to go back to their normal lives but I know social gathering is definitely out of the question even after the MCO is lifted and until the scientific community comes up with a model.

For those who are struggling with mental stress can turn to Befrienders Johor Baru, for instance. The hotline number is 07 3312300.

I’ve been told that Befrienders’ hotline has been receiving an average of 40 calls per day since the Movement Control Order (MCO) started, double that of what the non-governmental organisation had been receiving before.

Sim Ah Moi, who is Befrienders Johor Baru’s acting president, said during the first phase of the MCO, the number of calls received was between 16 and 46, and during the second phase, 16 to 44.

Financial woes was the main concerns of those who had called the hotline.

Sim said employees were worried about getting their income, while employers were worried about generating the income and sustaining their businesses.

But Befrienders JB had challenges of their own too.  The NGO which has 66 members is  currently running the hotline 7 days a week with only 33 volunteers aged between 29 and 67, as some have opted to observe the MCO.

Volunteers are divided into four shifts with two volunteers per shift, so the organisation actually needed a total of eight volunteers daily. With the number of volunteers down by half, some of the volunteers had to work double shifts.

I applaud them for their tireless efforts and commitment to ease frayed nerves in such trying times.

Although Befrienders JB is not made up of professional counsellors and they can’t give any advice, at least you know there’s someone at the other end of the line who’s listening to you. 

Sometimes it’s not easy to talk to family members, as you may not want them to worry.  So, we have organisations like Befrienders JB to turn to.

For those facing financial worries can also call Johor Welfare Department or the Employees Provident Fund (KWSP) office for assistance.

I would also like to remind those with fever to go for Covid-19 testing immediately.  Several days ago, someone said his father was feeling feverish.  I told him to send his father for a medical check-up, and his father tested positive for Covid-19. 

So, to sum things up. The government has provided all these avenues — a resilient structure is in place.  Have faith that with sound political management and policies, Malaysia will bounce back after the crisis.There may be changes to the norm, such as having to embrace technology such as teleconferencing via Skype or Zoom — at least until the vaccine is unveiled — but we will emerge after the crisis just like before, and maybe even better!

Be resilient and ready for rebound

By Michael Tay, Johor MCA Government and Coordinating Affairs chairman.

I would like to remind the public to remain resilient and be confident of an economic rebound from the coronavirus.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Malaysia’s economy will bounce back to a 9% growth next year, from an expected 1.7% contraction this year.

This is believed to be the fastest among the Asean-5 economies, which also  comprise of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

There’s a lot of theories going around now about the nature of the coronavirus, which can trigger paranoia. What we need now is as much credible information as possible and every country, including China, has to be forthcoming about what they know about the virus.  This is not the time to  be saving face or pointing fingers.    The main narrative should be to save lives and economies so that normalcy will return.

Actually, if you think about it, an increase in the number of cases of patients who tested positive for Covid-19 may not be a bad thing.  The reason for the lockdown was to break the chain of the spread of the virus.  We want to flush those who have the virus from the streets so that they don’t go around infecting others.

The government and relevant authorities now have to beef up efforts to track down illegal foreign workers who may be infected but are just too afraid to seek medical help.

Sooner or later, the lockdown will be lifted.

The coronavirus pandemic brings to mind the AIDs phenomenon.  Until today there is no vaccine for AIDS but because there is sufficient information about AIDs, we know how to prevent it.

Similarly, we are fearful of Covid-19 because we are still groping in the dark, with the vague and  distorted information that we have.  For lives and economies to get back on track again, we need to know everything about Covid-19.

If we don’t know this “enemy” yet by the time the MCO is lifted, we will be paranoid and fearful.

For now, all borders should remain closed.  We should not permit travellers to come in yet as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, we have to be optimistic. Have faith in our leaders.  Have faith in yourself that we can get through this if we continue to practice social distancing.

Port worker in a fix after RM4,000 debt surges to RM25,000

Michael Tay listening to Mohd pouring out his woes at the Johor MCA Complaints Bureau recently.

All of us are facing different challenges in the Covid-19 pandemic. Some are wondering when is their next meal coming, some are worried about their health, their income, and so much more.

Mohd, 39, is worried about facing the wrath of 12 loan sharks and settling his debt of RM25,000.

Mohd (not his real name) had initially borrowed RM4,000 from a loan shark in March. The port worker had agreed to pay the loan shark RM800 every week. He has borrowed money from loan sharks  in the past but settling the debts was never a problem then, as he has a monthly salary and a part-time job.

But due to the Movement Control Order, Mohd was not able to do any part-time work and he had turned to other loan sharks.  Now the amount has swelled to RM25,000 and he has 12 loan sharks to deal with.

None of the loan sharks has taken any physical action against Mohd yet but they have been nudging him via WhatsApp to pay up or interest will be accrued daily if he fails to settle the payment, which is currently a total of RM8,000 to be paid among the 12 loan sharks per week.

“It’s not that I do not want to pay but I only get my salary once a month and I can’t go out to work part-time.  How can I pay every week?”

Mohd has sought Johor MCA Government and Coordinating Affairs chairman Michael Tay’s help to get him out of his predicament.

Tay said he would liaise with the loan sharks on Mohd’s behalf to ask if they could waive the daily interest.

“Mohd has promised to settle his debt after the MCO but he would not be able to do so if the interest keeps adding up.

“I will discuss with the loan sharks to see if they are willing to withhold charging the interest until after the lockdown,” Tay said.

Tay’s advice to the public is to take up delivery jobs as there are many food operators looking for delivery services.

“That is the only way for people, especially sole breadwinners to put food on the table for their family,” he said.

Tay also called on the government to expedite the disbursement of financial assistance of RM600 for a maximum period of six months under the Perikatan Nasional economic stimulus package to employees who are forced to take unpaid leave.

The third phase of the MCO in Malaysia started today.  The first phase was from March 18 to 31, followed by the second phase from April 1 to April 14.

Hospitals receive medications worth RM3,000

Doctors and healthcare workers in Johor who are treating Covid-19 patients today saw a ray of hope when they received medications worth RM3,000 today.

Paracetamol and azithromycin were contributed by Johor MCA Government Coordinating Affairs chairman Michael Tay, who recently also led a team of volunteers to distribute canned drinks and packed food to medical frontliners.

As Tay had earlier promised, the medicines bought from private pharmacies upon getting advice from a qualified medical doctor, were given to the medical team locked in a battle with the coronavirus pandemic.

Tay, who is also the former Hospital Sultanah Aminah visitors board chairman, said the medicines would be used to treat patients at the Permai Hospital and Hospital Enche’ Besar Hajjah Khalsom, aka Kluang Hospital.

“We always keep in touch with Dr Aman Rabu (Johor state Health Director) who updates us on the current needs of health workers.

“I learnt today that more than 400 patients who were infected with Covid-19 and were admitted to Permai Hospital and Kluang Hospital have been discharged so far. The mortality rate was only two to three percent and those who succumbed had weak immune systems.

“With proper medication and rest which can build up one’s immune system, recovery is quite certain.  There’s hope for those who have contracted Covid-19 with these medications and the dedicated doctors at work.

“We believe these medications that we’ve contributed will reinforce the recovery process, and we will supply more when needed.  But the public also needs to observe the lockdown seriously as we need to flatten the curve.

“A total of 250 personal protective equipments (PPE) will also be given out when the supply from China arrives,” Tay said after handing over the medicines at the Permai Hospital.

Tay (3rd from left) handing over the medications to Dr Fahmi (4th from left)

Related links:



Showing appreciation to Covid-19 frontliners

These are trying times for everyone. Some will just stay at home and complain of boredom or lash out at others without thinking of the bigger picture. Some will rise to the challenge and continue to deliver public service to the people that need it.

Among the few good men out there who isn’t “all talk and no action” is Johor MCA Government Coordinating Affairs chairman Michael Tay who recently led a team of 25 volunteers to distribute 1,200 canned drinks and packed food to the frontliners of Kluang Hospital and Hospital Permai in Johor Bahru, namely the doctors and all medical staff.

Michael Tay and team distributing food and drinks to frontliners

Tay, who is also the former Hospital Sultanah Aminah visitors board chairman, wanted to show his appreciation to the frontliners who had been working tirelessly to serve patients since the pandemic started.  Although the situation in Johor is under control as there are currently sufficient ventilators, breathing tubes and beds, Tay learnt that the hospitals are facing a shortage of medicines and PPE suits.

Tay and his team will also be contributing  paracetamol and azithromycin to the two hospitals as soon as the supplies arrived.

“I have already placed the orders and they should be arriving soon.  I hope to deliver them to the hospitals by early next week,” Tay said, adding that he is also scouting for medical visors and PPE suits and appeal to non-governmental to chip in if they can.

Besides the food and drinks, Tay and his team also contributed face shields for doctors to enter the ward where Covid-19 patients are being treated.

The team also contributed face shields to doctors

“At first I didn’t understand the need for a lockdown, but now after talking to the hospital staff I’m beginning to understand the need for a lockdown.  It is not to overwhelm the hospitals.

“There are two types of quarantine.  One is self-quarantine and the other is to be quarantined at the hospital.

“Now if you have minor symptom, you should take paracetamol and isolate yourself in a room so as not to infect the other members of your family.  If your condition worsens, you should take azithromycin which is an antibiotic.  But if you have respiratory problems, you need to go to the hospital immediately as they have oxygen tanks.

“Social distancing is the new norm now. A lockdown is necessary to flatten the curve. Together we can do this,” Tay said, adding that Malaysia has its own model to handle Covid-19.

“We cannot follow Singapore or other countries because the density and culture is different for every country.  Singapore is densely-populated while Malaysia is not.  If everyone practises what they’ve been told — maintain 6ft. from one another, wear masks when they are outdoors, do not congregate — we should be able to stop the multiplication of the virus and life will get back to normal again.“It is vital to boost up your immunity system and please do not offend China.  They are powerful and rich.  We need all the help we can get now to get over this crisis!” Tay added.

After food and drinks, next will be paracetamol and azithromycin while Tay also scouts for visors

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑