Malaysia’s economic organisation FMM, calls its members to help break Covid-19 chain

File picture shows the general view of workers’ quarters within the premises of a glove manufacturer in Klang December 24, 2020. — Picture by Yusot Mat Isa
File picture shows the general view of workers’ quarters within the premises of a glove manufacturer in Klang December 24, 2020. — Picture by Yusot Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has called on its members to help break the Covid-19 infection rate in the country.

Acknowledging that the manufacturing sector contributes 99 out of 318 active Covid-19 infection clusters, the federation’s chief executive officer Yeoh Oon Tean said it is important that FMM’s members to do their part to by taking additional proactive and preventive measures to tighten the existing standard operating procedures (SOPs) at workplaces and the living quarters of employees.

“FMM strongly believes that it is important for the current infections and clusters to be managed effectively so that the chain of infections be broken swiftly as the economy and the business sector would not be able to take another round of total lockdown similar to the movement control order (MCO) in March 2020 that would have a devastating impact on business survival and security of jobs,” Yeoh said in a statement today.

The additional measures FMM has recommended include channelling more focus on providing better living conditions for workers particularly their hostels and housing that has been identified as an infection breeding ground for Covid-19 virus.

“There is an urgent need for employers to provide greater attention to the living conditions for all workers and ensure they comply with strict SOPs including the requirement for physical distancing in the living environment.

“This would also include imposing the same requirements on the living conditions of sub-contract workers,” said Yeoh.

He also urged all employers to comply with the government’s directive for all foreign workers to be Covid-19 screened to be concluded soonest possible by the government’s set deadline.

Another recommendation FMM offered is also for the capacity of vehicles or busses that ferry workers to be kept at 50 per cent or below to ensure physical distancing is maintained in these vehicles while transporting workers.

“Appoint senior management members of the company to oversee that the SOPs are strictly complied while at the workplace (including rest and meal times), at the workers’ accommodation and during transportation of workers.

“Isolate suspected or positive Covid-10 cases at a dedicated point similar to self-quarantine away from other workers and immediately notify the nearest state or district health departments,” he said.

At the same time, he also suggested for employers to advocate a “safe work bubble” for employees by monitoring and limiting employees’ movements to the minimum and on need basis only.

“Daily travel should be limited to the commute from home to workplace and back,” he said.

Yesterday, the Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had expressed concerns with a spike in the number of Covid-19 clusters involving workplaces.

He said from Jan 6 until Jan 23, a total of 350 new clusters were reported and 225 or 64.3 per cent were linked to workplaces.

Dr Noor Hisham added that manufacturing-related clusters recorded the highest number of clusters at 80, followed by construction-related clusters with 53 and service-related clusters with 31.

The country recorded 4,275 new Covid-19 positive cases, an all time high record since it was hit by the virus.

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