PUTRAJAYA: The government will allow manufacturers of face masks to hire more foreign workers to cope with the increased demand due to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said factory workers in the industry had been working around the clock due to the hike in demand and were understaffed.
“Manufacturers are working 24 hours, so they need more workers to help cope with the demand.
“With more workers, they could split the 24-hour workload into three shifts, ” said Dr Wan Azizah after chairing a high-level national committee on Covid-19 here on Friday (Feb 14).
Dr Wan Azizah said the Home Ministry would ensure that the additional intake of foreign workers was controlled.
“This is an emergency situation, but we must also ensure it does not result in an excess of foreign workers, ” she said.
She also said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry had issued instructions for face mask sellers not to sell masks in bulk to customers.
“There has to be a quota of masks sold to customers. We must ensure that there is enough supply for everyone, ” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah confirmed that Malaysia had turned away two cruise ships from Hong Kong, which attempted to dock at Port Klang recently.
“The government has decided that all foreign ships that wish to dock in Malaysia will be turned away if they refuse to share important information required by our authorities, ” she said.
The two cruise ships are the Westerdam and the Sapphire Princess.
The Westerdam, which had over 1,000 passengers, had initially requested to board in Malaysia on Thursday (Feb 13). It, however, proceeded to Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
The Sapphire Princess, meanwhile, went on to dock in Singapore.
Also present at the meeting were Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman, Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Mohd Zuki Ali and Immigration Department director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud.