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Let essential product manufacturers operate fully

FMM In The News: THE EDGE, KUALA LUMPUR, Friday, April 10, 2020 -  The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is appealing to the government to allow essential product manufacturers to operate fully and non-essential ones at a 50% capacity during the extended movement control order (MCO) period and in anticipation of a possible further extension of the MCO.

Allowing the industry to operate is critical to prevent it from collapsing following an almost month-long closure of most businesses, said FMM.

“Factories can no longer afford to remain closed while they continue to have financial obligations to meet including salaries and fixed capital expenditure,” FMM said in a statement yesterday.

“The MCO, besides denying production, has also restricted both import and export activities with an estimated export loss recorded at RM4.7 billion by 453 respondents of the recent FMM survey on [the] impact of [the] MCO on trade,” it added.

In light of this, FMM has suggested that factories should be allowed to operate under a very controlled environment where movement of workers is from home to the workplace and back, thus limiting the exposure of workers to an environment beyond their workplace and home.

FMM’s proposals include an en-bloc approval of the entire supply chain in the critical essential product cluster and standard operating procedures for the cluster’s operations during the MCO.

“All factories should be allowed to resume operations while adhering strictly to the compulsory step-by-step conditions imposed by Miti (ministry of internal trade and industry) or face possible closure of their [factories] if found to lax in their safety and health preventive measures,” it said.

FMM has also proposed for Covid-19 testing to be carried out on all employees permitted to return to work as an added precautionary measure.

This is to further facilitate immediate recovery of production for companies involved, especially in the non-essential segment as well as those currently working on 50% capacity, it said.

“While the testing can be covered by insurance for companies that have employees covered by insurance policies, for the micro and small businesses, it is suggested that perhaps the government fully subsidise the testing cost to defray the additional cost for these companies,” it added.

As for export and import activities, FMM said proof of contract or import-export commitment, including shipping documents and purchase orders, should suffice to allow both stuffing and unstuffing of containers at the factory premises and movement of cargo on the roads via land to Thailand and Singapore, airports and sea ports.

“Allow all import activities (including non-essential goods) to continue as the majority of orders have been placed before the MCO was in place and goods will continue to arrive at the ports,” it added.

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