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Don’t punish factories for minor oversights, says FMM

FMM In The News: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, PETALING JAYA, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has called on all agencies involved in enforcement activities to not punish factories when they are given little time to rectify their faults, especially on minor oversights in SOPs.

FMM president Soh Thian Lai said a more educational and advisory stance should be taken instead of approaching it through a “very aggressive and microscopic fault-finding mission”.

“Very little empathy is shown for companies that are struggling to sustain operations.

“Instead, many enforcement visits are driven to find the tiniest fault in the premises with no consideration on the level of relevance of the fault in relation to the core purpose of the visit, which is to prevent Covid-19 infection spread,” he said in a statement.

Soh said there was no opportunity for companies to rectify or reassess their compliance before a fine was imposed.

“Minor non-compliance or genuine oversight such as not having sufficient locations with hand sanitisers, failure to mark the entry and exit doors and more are being used against companies.

“This happens even when enforcement agencies are not able to identify any other fault pertaining to the actual business operations during this period,” he said.

He said there were also issues of uncoordinated enforcement raids with factories facing multiple raids by different enforcement agencies, including some having different interpretations of the SOPs and approvals by the international trade and industry ministry.

He said this was not acceptable as it would create continuous fear and anxiousness within the business community, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), despite them having approvals and SOPs in place.

Soh also reiterated that factories were not the main source of Covid-19 infections adding that based on data from the health ministry, a majority of cases especially in 2021 were sporadic cases and did not originate from workplace clusters.

“The manufacturing sector only contributed 5% to 10% of the cases on average for this year,” he said.

Acknowledging that workplace clusters will still exist, he said those relating to the manufacturing sector will have to continue to operate to support the economy.

“FMM once again calls on the government to focus on speeding up vaccination, especially in the EMCO areas in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, to immediately contain the further spread of the Covid-19 virus,” he said.

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