Impact of MCO on the industrial and manufacturing sector

Impact of MCO on the industrial and manufacturing sector

The movement control order (MCO) promulgated by the Malaysian government has come into force, it is a week old.

Despite minor hiccups here and there, MCO is holding well. Effective enforcement is the order of the day.

The police have gone to the ground to enforce compliance and lately the armed forces have been brought to beef up enforcement.

The general public are adjusting well to the MCO, although the flattening of the Covid-19 curve has not taken.

However, on the industrial and manufacturing front things are murky.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) might have come up with list as to kind of industrial and manufacturing establishments that could operate.

Even before the list was announced, some manufacturing establishments have taken the necessary measures in downsizing the work force only to retain some essential services.

For instance, some manufacturing companies in Penang have allowed their staff to work at home.

Essentially, MITI in allowing for plants or factories to operate or not to, based its considerations on two criteria, whether the services are essential or part of the essential goods production chain and whether the products are for local consumption or exports.

If they are for exports, then the factories do not fall under the essential services category. However the problem arises if factories are producing for both local and foreign consumption.

I am sure, although not the fault of MITI, there many grey areas in enforcing the MCO on industrial and manufacturing establishments.

While this may be true, it would be helpful if MITI releases the full details as to why some companies are operating and some are not.

Obviously, it takes time and effort to come with full list for the whole country in a matter of few days.

I suggest that MITI comes out with full list of those allowed to operate and those disallowed, bearing in mind that the list will be continuously updated as more information is gathered from the ground.

The existing list provided by MITI might not be a comprehensive one, likelihood that the list is being updated with the latest information.

Time is not in our favour given the exponential spread of the Corona virus.

The MCO must be enforced without fear or favour.

Local and foreign companies in Malaysia must play their role in preventing the spread of the virus.

They have a responsibility towards their employees in terms of not exposing them to the hazards of working in close proximity.

P Ramasamy is the Penang deputy chief minister II

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