Second lockdown deals another blow to Malaysia’s battered MICE sector

Residents in Kuala Lumpur (pictured), Putrajaya, and Selangor have been placed under Covid-19 movement curbs again

Event organisers and venues were taken by surprise when the Malaysian government announced a complete ban on all face-to-face business events activities in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Selangor, on October 12.

This short notice came hand-in-hand with the announcement of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) that began today (October 14) and last until October 27.

Residents in Kuala Lumpur (pictured), Putrajaya, and Selangor have been placed under Covid-19 movement curbs again

Alan Pryor, general manager, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, shared: “The recent spike in Covid-19 cases and the reinstatement of the CMCO in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya has definitely placed a constraint on the meetings and events sector, but we are cognisant that the health and safety of all Malaysians is of utmost importance and a national priority.”

Pryor added that the CMCO has also affected upcoming event bookings in subsequent months, where to date, there has been a 12 per cent cancellation of events, and seven per cent in postponements, in 4Q2020.

Jay Ishak, event specialist, trainer and consultant at 6E-Events, shared that an annual workshop followed by a graduation ceremony for a public speaking club on October 14 had to be postponed indefinitely. It was supposed to be held in a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur and welcome participants from all over Malaysia. This is the second time the event has been postponed.

Ishak added that another national conference that was supposed to be held in Penang later this month has also been postponed indefinitely, as a majority of participants were from Kuala Lumpur.

She is however, hopeful, that the CMCO would not be extended further, and that another conference organiwsed by 6E-Events will proceed as planned in Kuala Lumpur in November.

While most venues have shown flexibility throughout this period where postponements are rife, Ishak was concerned that the venues and suppliers were not available at the postponed date.

Meanwhile for Mona Abdul Manap, founder and CEO at Place Borneo, said that she missed a business opportunity due to the current situation. The Sarawak-headquartered PCO shared that a conference owner had decided to go virtual, instead of banking on the physical conference in Kuala Lumpur happening.

Although the conference owner asked if Place Borneo could handle the event, Mona revealed: “We could not accept as that would mean we would have to send a small team from Sarawak to Kuala Lumpur to manage the technical aspects (of the virtual conference). Upon their return to Sarawak, they would have to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine.”

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