Allow non-essential manufacturers to open

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by TMR FILE 

THE Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is appealing to the government to allow manufacturing industries in all non-essential sectors to re-open at 50% workforce capacity regardless of Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) that they are located in before companies close down permanently.

“Under the NRP Phase 1, many critical sectors such as the iron and steel, non-metallic mineral industries, rubber-based product manufacturers (with the exception of rubber gloves), machinery & equipment (with the exception of food and health related sectors) continue to be closed.

“Factory closure is killing these industries as they are running out of reserves to keep them going despite the financial assistance from the Government in the form of wage subsidies and the automatic loan moratorium,” FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said in a statement today.

Five states and three federal territories namely Kedah, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan remain in Phase 1 of the NRP with only 12 essential sectors allowed to operate at a workforce capacity of 60% while the other states have transitioned to Phase 2 in stages starting from July 5, 2021.

Soh said the fact remains however, that industries in many non-essential sectors comprising micro, small and medium enterprises as well as industries that are part of global supply chains with export commitments have remained closed for about two months since May 25, 2021.

“From a recent survey conducted by FMM on the impact of the lockdown on business operations, 93% industry players in the non-essential sectors and their supply chains said total sales including domestic and export sales were reduced.

“82% said exports were reduced mainly by up to 30% while 93% said cash flow was reduced,” he added.

Yesterday, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) also expressed a similar request to ensure the survivability of these non-essential sectors.

President Datuk Syed Hussain Syed Human said the prolonged movement control orders that have “remained enforced since March 2020 continue to devastate businesses and employment.”

“Besides the fashion, textile and apparels industry, many other non-essential industrial sectors have been devastated by the lockdowns, including the retail, tourism and hotel, and services sectors.

“We fear that the situation will worsen if these non-essential sectors are forced to remain closed during Phase One and Phase Two of the NRP and we urge the government to urgently review the NRP threshold set by National Security Council to accelerate the NRP to Phase Three and Four without delay,” he said in a statement