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Struggling manufacturers seek empathy from enforcers

FMM In The News: THE STAR, KUALA LUMPUR, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has appealed to the enforcement agencies to have more empathy and allow the manufacturers to rectify faults, especially minor oversights.

Its president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai had on Wednesday appealed to enforcement agencies to take on a more educational and advisory stance when checking on companies operating under the phases one and two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

He said these companies, which are struggling to sustain operations, have been given very little opportunity and time to rectify the faults especially minor oversights.

“Very little empathy is shown to the companies. Instead, many enforcement visits/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, that is to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 infection.

“No opportunity was also given for rectification and re-assessment of compliance before a fine is imposed.

“There are also issues of uncoordinated enforcement raids with factories having to face multiple raids by different enforcement agencies including some having different interpretations of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) approvals, ” he said.

Soh said 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.

He explained the slight deviations are not done on purpose because adherence to the SOPs have already been ingrained as part of the new normal of business operations.

Minor non-compliance or genuine oversight on one item under the SOPs such as not having sufficient hand sanitisers, failure to mark the entry and exit door/pathways, failure to cordon off non-operation production lines, etc are being used against companies during this lockdown period.

“FMM wishes to reiterate that faulting industries on minor issues on SOPs and imposing fines and business closure based on different interpretation of the SOPs is not acceptable because it creates continuous fear and anxiousness within the business community, especially the SMEs, despite them having approvals and all SOPs in place, ” he said.

Soh said Ministry of Health (MOH) data showed factories are not the main source of infections.

Based on MOH data, the majority of the cases especially this year have been sporadic cases and not originated from clusters including workplace clusters.

He added MOH data on June 21, 2021 showed 69% (398, 846 out of 578, 105) of Covid-19 cases recorded this year until June 19, 2021 were sporadic cases, that is, cases that are detected in the community and cannot be associated with any existing clusters while the balance of 31% came from clusters.

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