KUCHING: Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Sarawak branch urges the state government to balance the importance of public health with economic sustainability by allowing manufacturers to operate during this period.
Its chairman Victor Hii said that the state government, through the State Disaster Management Committee, should consider allowing manufacturers approved by Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to operate with 50 per cent of workforce.
“Currently, around 20 per cent of FMM members throughout Sarawak have already been approved by MITI,” he said in a statement.
State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas reportedly said those who received approval by MITI during the phase four of Movement Control Order (MCO) were required to obtain the state government’s approval for their application before being allowed to operate.
Hii added companies who wish to operate with 100 per cent workforce should be allowed on a case-by-case basis during the MCO.
As for those in the non-essential sectors, he suggested they should be allowed to start operating with 30 to 50 per cent of work force.
With the acceptance of the proposals listed, Hii believed it will ensure companies in Sarawak, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), can survive this challenging period while keeping unemployment rate low.
Hii pointed out it is important to allow manufacturing operations in Sarawak to resume concurrently as there are “inter-linkages” between companies and stopping work in certain districts would lead to supply chain of goods and services disruptions and impact the livelihood of the people.
Moreover, he explained factories are operated under a very controlled environment and all employers had to adhere strictly to standard operating procedures (SOPs) on social distancing, sanitisation, disinfecting workspace and daily temperature and health checks.
“With these strict SOPs in place, employers would be able to ensure early detection of any abnormal cases and have them tested and treated as well as provide contact tracing details of affected workers to the authorities.”
Hii further added that FMM continue to impress upon the industry to recognise the “new normal” in the way business will be conducted going forward, especially on the need to continue to strictly observe Covid-19 precautionary measures stipulated in the SOP for operations.
Furthermore, he said manufacturers should implement ‘Business Continuity Planning’ including expanding flexible work arrangements, maintaining social distancing and other policies that allow people to work remotely and safely as this will help to implement the SOPs effectively.
“Once the MCO is totally lifted, the state government can formulate an exit strategy where companies can go back to operating with 100 per cent workforce with strict adherence to the SOPs,” he said.