KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 ― The local iron and steel industry is facing major challenges resulting from the lack of activities in China’s construction sector, Deputy Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Liew Chin Tong said.

To address this challenge, the government implemented two important decisions, one of which is a two-year moratorium to allow for reassessments to address the challenges faced by the local iron and steel industry, he said.

He said effective August 15, 2023, the Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) imposed a temporary suspension on all inquiries, assessments of current applications, new applications, licence transfers, expansions, regularisations and diversifications for manufacturing licence.

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The suspension also involved the issuance of certificates for exemption from manufacturing licence (ICA10) under the Industrial Co-ordination Act, 1975 (Act 156) for manufacturing activities in the iron and steel industry.

“This moratorium gives respite for local industry players to coordinate and rebuild (the industry) to face future challenges, including global overcapacity and carbon emissions.

“The carbon emission issue will be taken into account every time an industry player seeks a bank loan. This moratorium helps companies and industry players by giving them some space,” he said during a question and answer session at the Dewan Negara today.

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He was responding to an additional question from Senator Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan who wanted to know the effectiveness of the government's existing initiatives to help and empower local iron and steel industry players.

According to Liew, the establishment of an independent and special committee for the iron and steel industry to assess the sector can give it a new lease of life.

“The committee will report to the ministry in six months and the ministry will implement the proposed recommendations to give the industry a new lease of life,” he said. ― Bernama