Prolonged war could hurt exports

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 03 Apr 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may feel the repercussions of the US-led attack on Iraq if the war were to continue for two to three more weeks. 

Asia-Pacific Public Sector Union secretary A.H. Ponniah said the country was still buffered from the “adversities of the domino effect” that generally followed global mishaps, but the situation would change for the worse if the fighting continued. 

He said workers from the manufacturing and production sectors would be the ones worst hit.  

“War seriously affects employees from these sectors and that is why trade unions from all over the world have vehemently opposed the US-led attack on Iraq,” he said.  

Ponniah said the main cause of the impending problems would be an economic slump due to restricted movement of goods. 

He said this would occur when freight forwarding companies were no longer able to deliver Malaysian exports to designated countries due to restrictions imposed on sea and air routes. 

“When goods cannot be sent out, production will be reduced and this may result in working hours being shortened,” he said. 

Ponniah said the services and retail sector workers would also feel the pinch because tourism would slow down as many would refrain from travelling during troubled times. 

MTUC president Senator Zainal Rampak said the nation’s manufacturing sector might be facing problems because of its dependence on the American market. 

“The United States buys about 60% of the products manufactured in Malaysia and if consumers there curb their spending, we will be badly hit here,” he told reporters recently after the congress’ general council meeting.  

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