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Malaysia extends lockdown as MACEOS argues for organised events to be allowed to continue

Malaysia expanded its conditional movement control order (CMCO) to all but three of its 13 states, 9 November, with rising levels of coronavirus infections. Sabah is the worst hit state, accounting for more than half the country’s total deaths attributed to Covid-19.

Hospitality is again hit hard, as prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin noted new lockdown restrictions would last until 6 December.

MICE events are not allowed and the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) has appealed to the government for an easing of restrictions imposed on business events in areas under the CMCO, claiming business events should be allowed to continue by adjusting participant numbers according to alert levels and venue size.

A recent MACEOS survey estimated that business events industry companies had lost RM2.3bn (US$560m) in the Covid period since March, with 17% of the industry’s workforce laid off.

MACEOS president, Francis Teo (pictured), said: “With the MICE SOPs already approved by the Malaysian National Security Council (NSC), business events should be allowed to continue to be organised, adjusting participant numbers according to alert levels and venue size. By allowing small groups to meet, the industry can maintain the minimum numbers needed to preserve and support the entire business events ecosystem.”

Teo added: “Business events industry players are well-prepared, trained, and able to implement the standard operating procedures required to ensure a high level of safety at all our events. This is the assurance we want to convey to the government, our clients, our partners, and business events’ attendees.

“Our members are strictly adhering to the SOPs and are already adopting these guidelines in their business events successfully.”

Teo predicted a full recovery of the business events industry was unlikely to happen before the third quarter of 2021. He added that, “while pivoting to virtual and hybrid events was the only other option, only 13% of industry players said they were able to do so successfully while others continued to struggle with the change.”