KOTA KINABALU, Dec 16 — Sabah needs good internet infrastructure to help small businesses recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, said its Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
Masidi, who is also the state government official spokesman on Covid-19 said that this was because online sales and marketing have become one of the new norms now, and should be embraced by entrepreneurs and small businesses in order to progress in the post Covid-19 era.
“It is the government’s intention to speed up the digital transformation in Sabah, especially among entrepreneurs and small businesses, not only in the tourism sector but in its entirety I am confident that our businessmen realise the new marketing method and have already begun using it.
“But what is more important is that internet connectivity is available everywhere. The infrastructure needs to be in place, only then can we conduct the new methods of online marketing and sales,” he said at the state government’s Covid-19 media conference tonight.
He was commenting about Bernama’s report stating that small businesses in the tourist spot of Jalan Sulaman, Tuaran were facing difficulty as the once popular area has become quiet due to the spread of Covid-19.
On December 3, Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor was reported to have said that the digital telecommunications coverage in the state was lagging behind and needed various steps to overcome the issue, especially through the National Digital Network (JENDELA) and by adding more communications towers and increasing internet speed.
Masidi said that the government realised the problems faced by small businesses in various sectors, especially the tourism industry in the state, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and has implemented immediate steps to help those affected.
“The state government has approved the Sabah Prihatin Covid-19 assistance package to ease the burden of small businesses, including a one-off RM300 payment to registered hawkers under the local authorities.
“(Other benefits include) Trade licence payment exemptions for this year and the next, and stall rental exemptions from April until December this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, in conjunction with Christmas celebrations that begin next week, Masidi said that the people are advised to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb Covid-19 during the festivities, especially for those who are planning some visiting activities.
“We must remember that Covid-19 is still out there, that is why we must implement social distancing, wear face masks and obey the SOPs. Don’t celebrate for 15 minutes only to suffer for 15 days,” he said. — Bernama