Manufacturers breathe a sigh of relief as operations allowed to continue

 THE Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) move to list all the essential service, work, industries and businesses which are allowed to operate in areas under the movement control order (MCO) has reassured manufacturers that they can continue to operate.

In a statement yesterday, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the industry is cognisant that all efforts must be taken to flatten the COVID-19 curve, and would continue to strictly observe precautionary measures.

Nevertheless, he believes that export-oriented industries like non-personal protective equipment-related textile and apparel manufacturers, ceramic and glass, toys, stationery products and footwear that have export obligations to meet should also be included in the list.

“Industries that have processes or equipment that must run on a 24-hour basis such as the cement, ceramic and glass (manufacturers) cannot be shut down as shutting down and recommissioning the equipment will be very costly,” he said. 

Soh also urged the Government to continue with relief assistance in the form of wage subsidies and targeted bank loan moratorium, as well as to consider exempting, reducing or delaying some of the statutory payments.

“This includes the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) levy, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) contributions, quit rent, assessment, as well as to consider further energy cost discounts to mitigate cost implications from the MCO,” he added.

The Government has also allowed five economic sectors to operate during the MCO, namely industrial and manufacturing, construction, services, trade and distribution, as well as plantations and commodities. – Jan 13, 2021

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