SIBU: The president of Sarawak Association of Maritime Association (Samin) is urging the Sarawak government to allow all shipyard companies in the state to continue operating during this Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
Dr Renco Yong said Samin had received instructions from federal Ministry of Transport that all shipping companies and ports are allowed to operate.
He also said based on the circular by the Malaysian Marine Department, all cargo operations can continue; ships can enter and depart shipyards for repairs and survey; stores and supplies can be loaded; and necessary certificates and documentation can be issued.
“Under this circular, we can clearly see that ships can enter and depart shipyards for repair and survey, which means shipyards shall be allowed to work,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted.
However, in Sarawak, it was stopped by the authority.
Because of this, he wrote an appeal letter to Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development (Mintred) and State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, but both had not responded.
He said stopping the industry from operating is not practical especially in Sarawak.
“More than 80 per cent of Sarawak shipyards are building international orders. All foreign buyers are angry and keep pushing us,” he said.
He added that the shipyard industry has two major categories – shipbuilding and ship repairs – and stopping operation will have bad implications on the industry. For shipbuilding, the industry here is facing international order deadlines and challenges, and if the industry missed the deadlines, international buyers would lose confidence, and this may lead to future loss of contract, he said further.
For ship repairs, he said while shipping at sea is allowed, ships need to be repaired or maintained and replenished with supplies during arrival or before departure.
As for foreign ships, half done work would give a bad impression on the industry in Malaysia, he added.
Another problem, he said, is that cargo on board may have expiry date or due date for delivery which must be met.
He also said that Sarawak is very different from Peninsular Malaysia, in that most shipyard workers here are staying in worker hostels within the shipyard area.
“Regardless of whether they work or not, they are in the shipyard surrounding,” he said.
On the Chief Minister’s announcement regarding the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance Package, he said it is benefiting the people in general, but not specifically for businesses.
Thus, he hoped to see more business-friendly announcements made by the government.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Digital Media E-Platform Association (SDMEP) president Zoey Ting Giek hoped that details of the package especially for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be known as soon as possible.
She said that the process should be clear, fast and easy.
She also said even though the federal government is giving five per cent discount for electricity bill and the state government is giving 25 per cent discount, it does that mean people can enjoy 30 per cent discount.
She said the M40 group should also be included for monthly cash aid because those in the B40 group are not the only ones affected by the Covid-19 crisis and MCO.