German, Japanese commerce chambers urge PM to re-evaluate approach to Covid-19 pandemic

The groups urge for some sectors to be reopened along with their supply chains in a limited capacity.

The Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCC) and the Japanese Chamber of Trade and Industry Malaysia (Jactim) have both urged Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to coordinate a targeted approach that is business-friendly and to evaluate the impacts of the current restrictions under the Covid-19 pandemic, among others.

“We urge the government to coordinate a targeted approach that allows companies to protect their investments, keep their staff and plan ahead.

“Most importantly, consistent and clear communication is necessary, so that enforcement, publication of SOPs and recovery plans are well aligned,” read the MGCC letter dated July 8, which was sighted by Malaysiakini.

After the latest announcement of the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) in most parts of Selangor and several localities in Kuala Lumpur, the changing SOPs have led to confusion among the chambers’ members, it said.

“The EMCO is not yet reflected in the International Trade and Industry Ministry’s (Miti) CIMS 3.0 system but manufacturing companies depend on Miti’s exemption letters to operate and allow their staff to safely come to work and return home.

“In one case, an essential classification was revoked overnight without any notification or explanation. In other cases, the police insisted on Miti exemption letters although the companies do not fall under the purview of Miti,” the letter read.

The German chamber said its members have also become increasingly worried about the collapse of the supply chain if only certain sectors are allowed to operate but the supplying industries cannot do so.

This is a concern shared by Jactim, whose letter dated July 6 included a proposal to allow the operation of manufacturing-related services in order not to disrupt the supply chain.

“As we have been emphasising this since the beginning, the operation of the manufacturing industry could not be established unless its supply chain and manufacturing-related services are in operation as well.

“In fact, production could not commence if the raw materials required for production could not be supplied.

“Similarly, it is impossible to continuously store the manufactured products and parts in a warehouse without allowing sales and export activities to resume.

“Therefore, it is essential to allow the supply chain and manufacturing-related services to resume their operations all at once after Phase 1 (of the National Recovery Plan),” Jactim’s letter read.

Both chambers also spoke of the need to ramp up the vaccination programme, with Jactim expressing its gratitude to the government for implementing the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (Pikas).

Jactim said there is also a need to expedite the vaccination rollout in Selangor, as the state is the biggest contributor to Malaysia’s GDP and it will play a crucial role in Malaysia’s economic recovery.

“We would like to request that the federal government prioritise the vaccination programs for companies based in Selangor to fully utilise the state’s vaccination programs as well as Pikas.

“Jactim through the Jactim Foundation would be contributing 50 specialised cooling boxes and 10 deep freezers as a gesture of goodwill to the Malaysian vaccination programmes,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, the MGCC urged the government to open private vaccination programmes, adding that its members are well prepared to pay for the vaccines and organise vaccination of their staff. It also requested for better clarity about the Pikas programme.

The chamber also urged the government to ramp up vaccination efforts and open private vaccination programmes, as its members are well prepared to pay for the vaccines and organise vaccination of their staff.

MGCC is also concerned about the security of expatriates and their families in Malaysia as counter services at the Immigration Department have been closed since the implementation of the latest MCO.

“This means that no pass stickers can be endorsed and many other immigration-related services which require personal visits cannot be performed,” it said.

Some expatriates employed by their member companies have been waiting for an appointment to endorse their pass stickers since February this year, it added.

These expatriates are highly worried about raids and fines because they have approval letters but no valid pass stickers in their passports.

“Without the pass sticker in the passport, new expatriates cannot be registered under an employer’s payroll, and cannot work legally,” MGCC said.

Meanwhile, Jactim also requested for all industries to be permitted to immediately operate with at least 10 percent workforce in Selangor, as was the measure taken under the first MCO last year.

This is because more than 40 percent of the approximately 1,500 Japanese companies based in Malaysia are located in Selangor, and these companies have been severely affected by the EMCO.

Current production lines have halted, and it would require a long period of time to restart these production lines, and in some cases, the production might not be able to resume at all, Jactim explained.

Jactim also urged the government to allow the automotive industry, both production and parts, as well as the steel and iron industry to resume operations, even under Phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan.

These industries have been operating with 10 percent workforce for more than a month now, Jactim said.

“These companies have commented that their maximum inventory support would only go up to 1.5 months.

“In fact, the automotive industry has lost some RM5 to RM10 billion in profits in the past month alone, and this is a huge damage to the Malaysian economy as well,” it said.

MALAYSIAKINI

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