Businesses to follow SOP to the letter when resuming operations

PETALING JAYA: While businesses are pumped at the prospect of resuming operations, many are also aware it is a collective responsibility to prevent a new wave of Covid-19 hitting Malaysia.

“I think it is wrong to think it is only on the government when those in business or others need to take the responsibility of prevention.

“Everyone must be responsible, ” said SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang.

Realising this, Kang said he had advised his members to take needful measures to ensure businesses adhere to the government’s standard operating procedure (SOP).

The association has also advised its members to set up an internal committee at their business premises or appoint a person in charge to ensure the SOP is strictly adhered to.

“Some firms stick the SOP guidelines on the wall but don’t follow it.

“That is wrong. The SOP must be strictly followed and staff need to be educated about Covid-19, ” he said.

Kang said some SMEs currently in operation had gone the extra mile, asking staff to snap pictures as proof to show that they went home straight after work.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said strict compliance of the conditions of the SOP would ensure that businesses were run in an orderly and controlled manner, especially by the employers who were overall responsible for the well-being of their workers.

FMM continuously impresses upon the industry to recognise the “new normal” in the way businesses will be run, especially on the need to observe precautionary measures for Covid-19, he said, adding that factories especially must operate under a very controlled environment.

“With these strict SOP in place, employers would be able to ensure early detection of any abnormal cases, and have them tested and treated as well as provide contact tracing details to the authorities, ” said Soh.

“In addition, we urge manufacturers to implement Business Continuity Planning including expanding flexible work arrangements, maintaining social distancing and other policies that allow people to work remotely and safely as this will help to implement the SOPs effectively.”

Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) president Datuk Seri Garry Chua said not all outlets would open soon due to the short notice of the announcement made by the Prime Minister.

He said preparation and “warming up” needed to be carried out before operations could resume fully.

Chua said MRCA members had been reminded to follow the SOP.

“The government has given us the freedom to resume business, we shouldn’t abuse it so we must follow it as we don’t want a recurrence of another wave like what happened in Singapore and Hokkaido, Japan, ” he said, adding that the responsibility to prevent another wave of cases lies with everyone.

As such, employers need to ensure their staff were constantly educated and updated about the virus and SOP for everyone’s safety, he said.

He said MRCA members had also been advised to ask their staff to undergo health screening to ensure they were free from Covid-19.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said while the announcement to open businesses was welcome, not all companies would be operating in full capacity.

“I don’t think everyone will operate at 100% because the social distancing requirement is critical.

“I have advised my members to see if they can arrange their staff to work from home every alternate week and make logistic arrangements clearer, ” he said.

Shamsuddin said MEF members were urged to follow the SOP provided by the government to ensure zero infections on their premises.

“If there are any incidents, then we would have to disinfect the place and that would also be a costly affair, ” he added.

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