KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has urged the government to exempt the manufacturing sector, especially those involved in essential goods and exports, from the restriction of movement order imposed on all private companies.
In a statement today, its president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the exemption would ensure business continuity amid the unprecedented challenging times.
“Factories that are producing essential goods, including those which support the supply chain of goods and services, as well as companies with export order commitments, need to continue operations, as a total shutdown of operations would have very damaging effects on businesses as well as the economy,” he said.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday night declared that Malaysia would be placed under a nationwide movement control order from March 18 to 31, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The premier said all government and private premises would be closed, except for those providing essential services, namely those involved in water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, postal, transport, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel, lubricants, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire brigade, prison, port, airport, security, defence, cleaning, retail and food supplies.
Meanwhile, Soh said FMM is also calling on the government to double the allocation under the Covid-19 stimulus package to RM40 billion as more businesses have now been affected by the virus.
Other suggestions in regards to the stimulus package include doubling the special relief facility for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to RM4 billion, with a lower interest rate of two per cent to allow more affected SMEs to tap into the fund.
The association also suggested the government reintroduce the goods and services tax (GST) at three per cent, grant exemption on import duty and sales tax on inputs of all essential goods, as well as reconsider a five per cent discount for all power consumers in the commercial, industrial, agriculture and domestic sectors, instead of two per cent announced by the prime minister yesterday. — Bernama