Azmin: Putrajaya revoked permit for four firms to operate during MCO, 35 more under probe

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali is pictured at the Prime Minister Office’s in Putrajaya March 11, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali is pictured at the Prime Minister Office’s in Putrajaya March 11, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Four companies who originally managed to obtain approval from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) to operate during the movement control order (MCO) had their permissions revoked for failing to comply with regulations, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali revealed today.

Without releasing the names of the four companies, the senior minister said the four companies had their approvals revoked after violating the “prescribed operational conditions” set by Miti and the Ministry of Health.

“Investigations are also being conducted by the Labour Department in Peninsular Malaysia and the police against 35 companies reported to have violated conditions set by Miti,” he said in a live press conference broadcast on national television.

To justify Putrajaya gradually allowing more sectors to operate, Azmin said the local economy was estimated to have been operating at only 45 per cent of its capacity during the first two phases of the MCO.

“The decision to allow more businesses to gradually resume their operations during third phase of the MCO would increase the operating capacity of the economy and thus, mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19,” he said.

Azmin explained that the decision to allow certain industries to resume operations was made to ensure adequate supplies of food, medications, and medical equipment are distributed locally.

He added that selected small and medium entreprises (SMEs) and those in the critical sector were also given permission to operate to ease the burden of the people and mitigate the impending economic impact caused by the outbreak.

For those allowed to operate, Azmin pointed out that strict guidelines and protocols have been set following discussions involving other ministries, mainly the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“Discussions at the Cabinet’s Special Committee who are looking into the economic impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak always include a representative from MOH, who was there during Friday and Sunday’s meeting, with our findings later presented to the Cabinet.

“This process must go through MOH who is important when it comes to advising Miti and other ministries involved in the additional sectors; meaning our effort to contain Covid-19 is together with MOH, who can assist us,” he said.

Concerning operation regulations, Azmin said companies are first required to provide Miti with a list of their employees to ensure they only commute to and from work, with companies now compelled to provide thermal scanners and to screen their employees if anyone is exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

“The readings of the workers must be recorded and kept for a period of at least three months for reference.

“As a safety measure to ensure that all workers of companies allowed to operate are free of Covid-19, Miti will collaborate with the Ministry of Human Resource through Socso (Social Security Organisation) where all workers are required to undergo Covid-19 screening at any of the 3,000 over Socso panel health clinics nationwide,” said Azmin.

As for the construction industry, the senior minister pointed out that companies must first reduce their workforce to not exceed 50 per cent of its capacity, and must give their full cooperation to MOH should contact tracing be required in the event of an infection.

Employers must also provide transportation for their workers and sanitise vehicles often, while those staying in company-provided Centralised Labour Quarters must ensure adherence towards the Construction Workers Accommodation guidelines as issued by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

“Enforcement units comprising the Public Works Department, CIDB, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, local authorities, and the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) have been established to monitor and enforce compliance by approved companies as well as to take action against those that operate without approval.

“Miti is also collaborating with the police and the Department of Labour to monitor the activities of the industries required to comply with the SOPs.

“Failure of companies to comply with the SOPs will result in the immediate revocation of their approval to operate as well as legal action according to the existing laws,” he said.

Azmin said offences committed will be going against Regulation 11 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) (No. 2) Regulations 2020.

Malaysia today enters the second day of the third phase of the MCO, set to end on April 28.

The MCO has been enforced since March 18 as a mitigative step to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

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