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Movement restriction on all private companies ‘too drastic’, says FMM

FMM in The News - JOHORBIZNET, KUALA LUMPUR (March 17, 2020): The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) said it is in full support of the need to contain the Covid-19 outbreak but said the imposition of the movement restriction on all private companies, excluding essential services, is a drastic move.

In a statement, FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said factories producing essential goods, including the supporting supply chain of goods and services and companies that have export commitments, need to continue operations as a total shutdown would have very damaging effects on business and the economy.

“FMM has continued to advise members to remain calm and focused in tackling the adverse impact caused by the Covid-19 and also to continue to ramp up production in the critical goods required such as food items, face masks, sanitisers, disinfectants, pharmaceutical, medical devices and personal protective equipment to support the government in the fight against Covid-19,” he said.

Soh further said that it has requested for all manufacturing activities to continue operations, noting challenges faced by manufacturers with export commitments and operations that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week that are sensitive to sudden shutdowns and restarts, such as kiln and smelting facilities in the iron, steel, aluminium, ceramics and cement industries.

“In this regard, FMM strongly appeals to the government to exempt manufacturing to ensure business continuity and ability to support the economy during such unprecedented challenging times,” he said.

The federation also appealed to the government for an increase in the allocation to contain the outbreak to RM1 billion to cater for patient care and treatment, including ensuring sufficient hospital beds and equipment.

It also asked for the allocation under the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package to be doubled to RM40 billion, in view of the escalating situation, given that many more businesses are affected.

The special relief facility for SMEs, it said, should be doubled to RM4 billion with a lower interest rate of 2%, while it also asked the government to reconsider a 5% discount to all power consumers in commercial, industrial, agriculture and domestic sectors, instead of the 2% announced yesterday.

FMM also mooted for the reintroduction of the Goods and Services Tax at 3% and for Bank Negara Malaysia to give its assurance that financial institutions do not pull back financing lines, especially to SMEs.

Besides that, it asked for exemption on import duty and sales tax on inputs of all essential goods, the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement and implementation of free trade agreements that have been signed, as well as the removal of the RM300,000 ceiling on the Market Development Grant.

Moreover, FMM wants banks to extend their payment terms for affected companies by declassified non-performing loans from three months to six months and to expedite local infrastructure projects such as the East Coast Rail Link, High Speed Rail and Light Rail Transit 3.

“In conclusion, FMM strongly believes that it is the collective action of all stakeholders including the business community that is most critical in ensuring that the situation does not escalate further and impact the economy. 

“FMM is doing its part in supporting the fight against Covid-19 and has pledged a contribution of RM50,000 in kind to the Sungai Buloh Hospital,” said Soh.

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