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FMM: Govt must urgently support industries during this crucial period

FMM In The News:  THE NEW STRAITS TIMES, KUALA LUMPUR, Saturday, May 29, 2021 - The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has joined the chorus of groups calling for the government to introduce immediate assistance for businesses vulnerable to the implementation of the latest lockdown.

Apart from automatic bank loan moratorium for at least three months or more effective from June 1, the FMM also outlined eight other proposals that could mitigate the impact of the lockdown against companies, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Its president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai hoped the government would implement the Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP) for all industries for the phases of the lockdown period with between RM800 and RM1,000 per employee.

"The FMM also hopes the government consider suspending or extending the payment date for all statutory contributions given that operations would be in total lockdown except for the essential economic and services sectors.

"We also hope the government would consider waiving Tenaga Nasional Bhd's Maximum Demand charge for this month given that industries have already been on a reduced workforce of 60 per cent from May 25 and the period of lockdown just announced which could possibly be from June to July this year.

"We are also hoping that the government will continue with the electricity rebate for the next six months from July to December this year," said Soh in a statement today.

In addition, the FMM, said Soh, was hoping the government would suspend Gas Malaysia's Take or Pay (TOP) in gas off-take agreement for this month.

The government, he said, should also allow manufacturing industries with contractual export orders to operate at 50 per cent capacity even if they are not in the essential economic sectors.

He said the FMM was also seeking for the government to allow import and export activities to continue including ports, warehousing and all goods transport activities.

"Allow industries to undertake maintenance of plant as well as those with furnaces and kilns that need to continue running on a 24/7 basis to operate with 20 per cent workforce capacity," he said.

The federation, he said, also called on the government to further extend the effective period of the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Covid-19 Act 2020 on the inability to perform contractual obligations to beyond June 30.

He said the Act should be expanded to provide provision for relief for manufacturing and other manufacturing related services such as trading or distributorship and logistics.

"FMM also calls on the government to provide free nationwide mass Covid-19 screening test and accelerate mass immunisation programme through a parallel vaccination implementation by private hospitals and clinics.

"FMM hopes the vaccination for the economic sectors, through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Immunisation Initiative, will be expedited to achieve faster herd immunity.

"The government must urgently support industries during this crucial period with the necessary financial assistance and initiatives including allocating a Special Relief Fund to assist companies, especially the SMEs."

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