‘We want clear guidelines’

  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 02 Apr 2020

JOHOR BARU: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in food-related processing activities are urging the government to allow them to continue production during the movement control order (MCO).

Beverage manufacturing proprietor Koh Ah Seng said the MCO was affecting them badly.

“The government must clearly state which industries or sectors are allowed to continue production during the MCO, ’’ he said.

Koh, 50, said allowing food and beverage-related (F&B) SMEs to continue production would ensure supply without disturbance.

He said failure to deliver on time would result in insufficient supply of items to consumers.

“The government should set up a temporary committee comprising business associations to assist manufacturers, ’’ said Koh.

He said the committee could oversee the manufacturing supply chain to ensure consumers were able to buy essential goods without any problems.

Lim Gay Hong, 37, said there were many support services in the supply chain of the food and beverage manufacturing activities.

“Bureaucracy must be totally avoided during this trying times and the focus should be on the basic needs of the people, ’’ he said.

Lim, whose company manufactures food stickers and labels, said, without them, the food items were incomplete and could not be sold in the market.

He said the MCO caught many SMEs by surprise.

No one had attended to their problems and all government departments were closed until April 14, he added.

“If the food supply chain is affected, it will cause inconvenience to everybody and even panic, ’’ said Lim.

Food processing manufacturer Louis Khor, 40, said the SMEs were asked to register with the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) for approval to operate during the MCO.

“The time given was too short and caused massive congestion on MITI website and office, ’’ he said.

Khor said many of the F&B SMEs were not able to get the green light before the implementation of the MCO, as there were no updates on the status of their submission.

He said without proper documentation, SMEs dared not operate as they were worried enforcement agencies would take action against them.

“Hopefully, the ministry can find ways to resolve our problems, ’’ said Khor.

Durian and bird’s nest exporter Diamond Lim, 60, agreed with Lim that setting up a committee would help to coordinate export of goods without any problems.

He said delay in exporting goods would result in Malaysia losing hundreds of millions of ringgit in forex.

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