PETALING JAYA: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has called for more assistance from energy providers to help the industry tide over the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, FMM president Soh Thian Lai said a drop in overall electricity tariffs was expected following the decline in fuel prices, adding that this would help provide some relief for manufacturers at this time.
He said FMM had met with energy authorities and appealed for electricity tariff discounts to be extended for another two months with the possibility of getting further discounts of up to 5% more.
“Most companies, especially those categorised as non-essential, did not benefit from the discount during April and May.
“Usage was almost zero or minimal as production had halted due to the movement control order (MCO) in place,” he said, adding that these companies still had to bear overhead and fixed costs.
He called for a review of natural gas prices in view of the drop in global fuel prices, saying Indonesia had already implemented a 25% reduction.
He also said bills for February and March should be apportioned out in the same way residential consumers may opt to pay, while late payment penalties should be waived.
“FMM is also calling for Gas Malaysia Energy Services (GMES) Sdn Bhd to defer its decision to impose excess gas charges beginning from July 2020 until the economy recovers,” he said.
Soh said the energy authorities should waive take-or-pay penalty clauses considering the prolonged impact of the pandemic on local and global businesses.
He requested that maximum demand charge calculations for March should be reviewed according to the number of days companies were operating during the MCO.
“The Department of Statistics has indicated that, given the current global economic climate, the manufacturing sector would require some time to recover as it is strongly dependent on global demand.
“FMM urgently calls for these reliefs to be duly considered expeditiously in order to support business and employment sustainability in view of the external uncertainties and long recovery period.”
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