Allow manufacturers to continue operations, FMM urges govt

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers wants the special relief facility for SMEs to be doubled to RM4 billion, with a lower interest rate of 2%, to allow more affected SMEs to tap into the fund.

PETALING JAYA: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has urged Putrajaya to allow its members to continue operations during the movement control period which starts tomorrow.

FMM president Soh Thian Lai gave his assurance that companies would maintain high health standards and would use smaller work groups to ensure minimal social contact among them.

The non-essential staff could be allowed to work from home and working hours could be cut. Companies could submit a list of employees required at the workplace to the National Security Council, he suggested.

“FMM strongly appeals to the government to exempt manufacturing to ensure business continuity and the ability to support the economy during such unprecedented challenging times.

“The restriction of movement imposed on all private companies, excluding essential services, may be too drastic a move,” he said in a statement today.

Soh urged the government to increase the allocation to contain the Covid-19 outbreak to RM1 billion, adding that district and private hospitals should also be equipped to manage patients if designated hospitals were overwhelmed.

He appealed for the stimulus package allocation to be doubled to RM40 billion as the situation had escalated and affected many more businesses.

“Given the large number of SME establishments in the country, FMM is also of the view that the special relief facility for SMEs should be doubled to RM4 billion with a lower interest rate of 2% to allow more affected SMEs to tap into the fund.”

He also urged the government to give a 5% discount for all power consumers in commercial, industrial, agriculture and domestic sectors, instead of the 2% announced on March 16.

Soh also called for the reintroduction of the goods and services tax (GST) at a rate of 3% and for exemptions on import and sales duties on essential goods.

He said development projects such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) should be expedited to boost domestic consumption, emphasising that it would have a “profound multiplier effect” on more than 100 industries.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced financial aid for those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to the RM20 billion economic stimulus package announced on Feb 27 to mitigate the virus’ impact on Malaysia.

Later that day, he announced the movement control order which curtails all public activities in the country and calls for the closure of government offices and private business premises, except for those involved in essential services.

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