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Factories not main source of Covid infection: FMM

FMM In The News: THE MALAYSIAN RESERVE, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - THE Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) reiterated that factories are not the main source of infections according to the statistics by the Health Ministry (MoH) as the majority of the cases, especially this year, have been sporadic and not originated from clusters.

“It is evident from data released by MoH on June 21, 2021 that 69% or 398,846 out of 578,105, of the Covid-19 cases recorded this year until June 19, 2021 were sporadic cases and cannot be associated with any existing clusters while the balance of 31% came from clusters,” FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said in a statement today.

“Factories only account for 30% of these workplace clusters. This works out to be around only 6% of the total number of cases that can be attributed to factories.

“Recently, MoH reported that only 15,069, 9.7% out of a total of 156,105 infection cases from June 1, 2021 to June 26, 2021 were attributed to the manufacturing sector,” Soh said.

As such, he urged the enforcement agencies to take a didactic and advisory stance in administering the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

FMM calls for all agencies involved in the enforcement activities on companies operating under the Phase 1 and 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and EMCO to take on a more educational and advisory stance on their enforcement.

“They have been approaching the enforcement in a very aggressive and microscopic fault-finding mission where companies are immediately imposed fines with very little opportunity and time given for companies to rectify the faults, especially minor oversights.

“Many enforcement visits and checks 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 to prevent Covid-19 infection spread,” he said.

Soh added that there has been no opportunity given to the companies for rectification and re-assessment of compliance before a fine is imposed.

“There are issues of uncoordinated enforcement raids with factories having to face multiple raids by different enforcement agencies including some having different interpretations of the standards operating procedures (SOPs) and International Trade and Industry Ministry’s (Miti) approvals.

FMM has been receiving complaints from members on very hostile enforcement teams and on fines being imposed for the tiniest fault or slight deviation of the Covid-19 SOPs which are not done on purpose because adherence to the SOPs has already been ingrained as part of the new normal of business operations,” he said.

He added that minor non-compliance or genuine oversight on one item under the SOPs, such as not having sufficient locations with hand sanitisers and failure to mark the entry and exit door and pathways, are being used against companies during this lockdown period when the enforcement teams are not able to identify any other faults about the actual business operations during this period.

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