WFH order clarified, questions linger

PETALING JAYA: After a confusing 24 hours, the government clarified who should and who do not have to work from home in areas under the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Labuan, Sabah and Selangor.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said the work-from-home directive from today to the end of the conditional MCO only applied to government servants at the management and supervisory categories who need not be in the office and industries registered under the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI).

Only foreign workers at construction and security guards must take swab tests. Those working on-site in red zones are encouraged to do so.

Ismail Sabri said workers in essential services, security as well as the informal sector are exempted from this directive.

On Oct 20, Ismail Sabri said managers and supervisors on-site would have to test for Covid-19.

He added the directive by the National Security Council aimed to limit the movement of people and prevent new Covid-19 infections.

“This is a directive, not a suggestion by the government. Workers in several categories will work from home, ” he said on Tuesday, stating that Public Services Department and MITI would issue further information on the directive.

With that announcement and no other details, employers and employees in areas under conditional MCO were left guessing whether the directive applied to them.

As the ruling takes place today, industry organisations voiced their concerns over the lack of details on the directive.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said there was still a lack of clarity on the requirement for the swab tests.

“Will it be for all staff that continue to work, or only those from the red zone areas, or only staff that are exempted from the WFH directive based on the flexibility provided?

“The process and time needed for workers allowed to work at the offices and factories to get the swab tests done could impact operations, ” said Soh in a statement yesterday.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the 10% quota of supervisors and managers on site would be a problem for smaller companies.

“For small companies, assuming that you have five people in managerial or supervisory positions, then one person would already be considered 20% of that team.

“Does that mean they cannot come into the office? Then who would run operations?

“It is also peculiar why this directive is limited to only those in managerial and supervisory roles.

“Many employers already adopted WFH arrangements, with only about 50% of the workforce in the office, ” said Shamsuddin, when contacted.

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Confusion , work from home , WFH


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