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COVID-19 financing bill not all-encompassing - FMM

FMM In The News:  BERNAMA, KUALA LUMPUR, Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - The Temporary Measures for Government Financing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Bill 2020 proposes to provide temporary reprieve for businesses against legal disputes and protect them from resulting legal suits.

However, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president, Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai opined that the bill, as it currently stands, is not all-encompassing as the temporary relief measures only applied to seven categories of contract carried out for the period from March 18, 2020 until the end of the year.

The bill was passed at the policy level after being debated in Parliament yesterday.

“With the exception of supply of construction material and equipment, the Bill does not cover other manufacturing related sectors and its supply chain,” said Soh.

FMM maintains that business recovery may take between four months and two years depending on the sectors and impact that Covid-19 has had on the business.

“Any measures however temporary including the Covid-19 Bill will assist businesses to recover at a faster pace and continue to improve their revenue and sustain their workforce; however, measures in the Bill for manufacturing sector and businesses at large falls short of the requests made by FMM.

“For example, there is no provision in the legislation for a valid issuance and lodgement of notification for relief to be served due to delay or breach attributable to a COVID-19 event and therefore it is unclear how businesses can initiate the proceedings to claim temporary relief under the legislation,” Soh stressed.

Furthermore, he said, there were no clear provisions in the proposed law to address the inevitable disagreements that will arise between the contracting parties.

FMM submitted its feedback on the proposed COVID-19 Bill to the government last May 31, in which it requested for relief measures in the form of a holistic and multi-sector Covid-19 Act.

Among others, FMM recommended that the scope of scheduled contracts that might be applicable in Malaysia be broadened compared to the scope under Singapore’s COVID19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.

“Given the contraction in manufacturing activities due to the harsh impact of Covid-19 pandemic on business sustainability, employment and productivity, we had proposed for the Act to provide provision for relief for manufacturing and its related supplies as well as expanded to cover other services such as trading or distributorship and logistics related services such as warehousing, transportation and shipping,” Soh added. 


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