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FMM tells members to tighten SOPs at workplace, workers' quarters to help fight Covid-19

FMM In The News: THE STAR, KUALA LUMPUR, Monday, January 25, 2021: Industries must play their role to tighten existing standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the workplace and living quarters of employees as they could not withstand another full lockdown, says the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

Its president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the industry was "deeply alarmed" following the warning made by the Health Ministry that the country's health system was at a breaking point due to the overwhelming rise in Covid-19 cases, with an estimated 30% of the active clusters from the manufacturing sector.

"FMM strongly believes that it is important for the current infections and clusters to be managed effectively so that the chain of transmission can be broken swiftly.

"The business sector cannot withstand another round of total lockdown similar to the movement control order in March," he said on Monday (Jan 25).

Soh said that a second full lockdown will lead to irreparable damage to the business sector and the economy with a devastating impact on business survival and job security.

FMM also listed down additional reminders to its members on the measures that can be taken to protect the workforce including asking employers to provide greater attention to the living conditions, especially at the hostels and housing facilities that have been identified as a breeding grounds for Covid-19.

Others include complying with the government's directive for all foreign workers to be screened for Covid-19.

At the same time, Soh said the sector had highlighted some of the challenges and obstacles faced during this period.

"FMM has appealed for the continued support of the government to facilitate all employers as they endeavour to comply with some of the requirements and directives that have a direct impact on their adherence to specific SOPs and preventive measures namely compliance with the Workers' Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act (Act 466) on accommodation for employees and the mandatory testing of all foreign workers throughout the country," he said.

He said the major obstacle faced by the industry was the lack of hostels and centralised living quarters, additional accommodation space and most critical, the lack of facilitation of approvals by local authorities.

On mandatory testing of foreign workers, FMM proposed several immediate actions including for the government to agree to subsidise the cost of the RTK-antigen test kits so that employers in all states under the MCO can quickly arrange to conclude mandatory screening within the deadline.

Soh also appealed to the government to ensure clinics and hospitals strictly adhered to the gazetted cost of the RTK-antigen/RT-PCR tests for all, including foreigners, or when bulk tests are done.

There should also be sufficient test facilities and labs to cope with the volume of tests that would be carried out during this period and for timely release of test results, he said.

He also called on the government to be transparent on the comprehensive national Covid-19 vaccination programme for the entire population.

"It must be recognised that that as long as the pandemic pervades, the growth and investments by the private sector will remain subdued and the economic recovery will continue to be sluggish," added Soh.

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