Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Factory task force urgently needed in Selangor, says industry group

MEF calls for politics to take a step back, and for the thousands of illegal factories in the Klang Valley to be included in the vaccination push.

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The group representing company owners nationwide has called on the Selangor government and federal authorities to put aside their political differences and ensure that infections in the manufacturing industry in Selangor are controlled, saying many are staring at the probability of closing down their business due to the prolonged lockdown.

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) also proposed that Putrajaya urgently set up a dedicated joint task force to manage the Covid-19 crisis in factories in the state as well as in Kuala Lumpur during the current enhanced movement control order (EMCO) period.

“This dedicated task force should only focus on these two areas whereby the local authorities could provide details of the factories while the federal authorities work on the screening and vaccination of those working at those factories,” said MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman.

He said without such a task force, it would take a long time to achieve herd immunity.

Selangor formed its own Covid-19 task force last year under the leadership of former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad.

But the state has consistently reported the bulk of daily cases, sparking concerns over the effectiveness of its Covid-19 containment measures.

Syed Hussain said a joint task force should be able to track down workers to quickly address infections, with the aim of allowing all factories and businesses to re-open.

He said Selangor’s many illegal factories should also be part of the vaccination drive.

In 2020, it was estimated that there were over 5,600 illegal factories
in Selangor and the Klang Valley.

“These illegal factories should also be identified and their workers screened and vaccinated. If we don’t then the issue will not be addressed,” said Syed Hussain.

“We must be bold to accept that these legal and illegal factories exist, and they should be the focus of the proposed dedicated task force.”

MEF, which has repeatedly voiced opposition to the continued forced closure of businesses, warned that both employers and their workers were victims of the current situation.

“Large multinational companies based in Selangor and KL are also concerned that the prolonged lockdown will affect supplies to international markets.

“In fact, all those factories that comply strictly with the SOPs should be allowed to operate without any more delays,” said Syed Hussain.

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