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FMM claims workers face restrictions and arrests although authorised to work

FMM In The News: THE EDGE, KUALA LUMPUR, Thursday, April 9, 2020 - While the operations of essential goods are allowed for manufacturers with approval to operate, things have been unfavourable for workers on the ground since the second phase of MCO took effect on April 1, according to the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

It said workers of companies with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)’s approval issued prior to the announcement of the extended MCO have been denied permission to travel to their workplace.

“There have also been several cases of workers being arrested because the MITI approval attached to the company authorisation letter stated the MCO period was from March 18 to 31,” FMM said in a statement today.

“This is despite workers showing proof of the media statement released by MITI on March 25 on the extension of all approvals in accordance with the extended MCO period. The tightened MCO hours has also affected workers scheduled on shift work for companies with MITI approval,” it added.

FMM said export and import activities are being curtailed with the insistence of MITI approval although the Ministry of Transport had stated that all export activities should continue with proof of contract or export commitment. This is because exports are vital to ensure that supply chains are not severed and countries that need our exports will be able to continue receiving them.

“Likewise, imports and clearance of cargo from the ports had only two windows of opportunity – March 27 to 29 and April 4 to 7. This has resulted in disruption to incoming raw materials and goods to manufacturers,” the federation added.

FMM said there have also been cases where some manufacturing entities that are part of the supply chain of the essential products are not granted the approval to operate as they are deemed non-essential.

This too, it said, has hampered the operations of the manufacturers granted approval to operate.

“The business community has been very supportive of the lockdown the past few weeks and would continue to support the MCO but now needs some relaxation to allow factories to resume operations.

“The focus must shift to ensuring the survival of the industries failing which there would be detrimental impact on the overall economy,” it said.

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