Malaysia is asked to ease restrictions on businesses

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Malaysia is asked to ease restrictions on businesses

South Korea on Monday requested that Malaysia lend hands to its companies based in the Southeast Asian economy whose operations have been disturbed by the movement control amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

During a videoconference with her Malaysian counterpart Mohamed Azmin Ali, Yoo Myung-hee highlighted countries that should make not only thorough quarantine efforts but also find ways to support the parlous virus-hit economy, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Malaysia has been rolling out the so-called movement control order since mid-March to curb the spread of COVID-19. Under the order, only a limited number of essential businesses are allowed to operate.

South Korean manufacturers based in Malaysia have been facing hurdles in meeting deadlines or securing necessary materials due to the regulation.’

“Countries need to find ways to maintain the global supply chain and allow travel of essential businesspeople to an extent that does not undermine quarantine efforts,” Yoo also said, requesting Malaysia consider easing regulations to support South Korean firms.

There are some 530 South Korean businesses currently operating in Malaysia, according to the data compiled by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

Malaysia is the third-largest trading partner for South Korea from Southeast Asia, with the two countries’ combined exchanges reaching US$18.1 billion in 2019.

Seoul and Kuala Lumpur also vowed to join forces to complete the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) within this year. The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its dialogue partners, including South Korea, effectively reached an agreement on RCEP in November, although they are still waiting for a final signing ceremony this year.

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