KUCHING: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is not in favour of a second full lockdown for fear that it would lead to irreparable damage to the economy, with devastating impact on business survival and job security.
FMM president Tan Sri Dato Soh Thian Lai said it was crucial for the industry to give full cooperation by tightening the existing standard operating procedures (SOP) at workplaces and living quarters of employees.
“There is an urgent need for employers to provide greater attention to the living conditions for all workers and ensure they comply with strict SOP since workers hostels and housing have been identified as a breeding ground for Covid-19,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He said employers must adhere to the government’s directive by making sure that all foreign workers were screened for Covid-19, while reminding them that the capacity of vehicles or buses used to ferry workers must be kept at 50 per cent or below to ensure physical distancing.
Soh also suggested that companies appoint senior management members to oversee that the SOP is strictly complied with at workplaces, including during rest and meal times.
“Advocate a ‘safe work bubble’ for employees by monitoring and limiting employees’ movement to the minimum and on need basis only.
“Daily travel should be limited to the commute from home to workplace and back,” he said.
Soh said FMM had also appealed to the government to subsidise the cost of the RTK antigen test kits so that employers in all states under the Movement Control Order (MCO) could quickly arrange to conclude the mandatory screening by the deadline set.
He said the government must also ensure that clinics and hospitals strictly adhere to the gazetted cost of the RTK antigen or RT-PCR tests for all including foreigners, or that when bulk tests are done, appropriate discounts be considered for the service or test costs which would be borne by employers.
He added that the government must ensure sufficient test facilities and labs to cope with the volume of tests that would be carried out during a certain period and for timely release of test results.
Soh also said the government must come up with a transparent and comprehensive national Covid-19 vaccination programme for the entire population.
“This is crucial at not only preserving public health and lives but also for economic recovery.
“An early announcement of the national vaccination programme and the prioritised groups are critical towards the industries’ business continuity plans.
“It must be recognised that as long as the pandemic pervades, the growth and investments by the private sector will remain subdued and the economic recovery will continue to be sluggish,” he said.