Factories suffering effects of Covid-19


By ALEX TENGDAVID TAN

Loss of revenue: A once-packed car park is now mostly empty as some factories at the Bayan Lepas FIZ had to shut down for sanitisation due to Covid-19 cases.

GEORGE TOWN: The situation in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) is not looking good as some workers employed by multinational companies (MNCs) there have tested positive for Covid-19.

It is learnt that at least five companies have failed to meet their delivery quota this month after cases were detected following screenings.

Two of the affected companies had to temporarily shut down operations to allow entire buildings to be sanitised by health authorities.

Daily production has been disrupted as well after the factories were ordered to do mass screenings for their workers as part of standard operating procedures.

About 5,000 employees are working at the five affected MNCs.

“We have told all our workers to take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of getting infected.

“We’ve also carried out sanitisation in the premises, ” said a senior employee at one of the companies yesterday.

One of the affected factories, which is a Singapore-owned company, recorded a drop of over 40% in its daily production after it was required to do mass screening for all 600 of its workers.

It would take at least a few days for the employees, including some 100 administration staff and 500 production operators, to complete the swab tests carried out by the Health Ministry.

So far, four of the employees have tested positive.

Most of the workers, who are mainly foreigners, are staying at the workers’ hostel in Relau, where many positive Covid-19 cases were reported recently, believed to be linked to the Intan cluster.

An industry source said the affected factories might face millions of ringgit in losses as production at the plant was likely to be affected for at least another two weeks.

“The employees are now waiting for the results and need to be quarantined. As such, the monthly revenue will be seriously impacted, ” the source said.

The plant is involved in electronic components for the lighting industry.

The company has facilities in Singapore, Europe, North America and Japan.

FIZ Penang Companies Association committee member Datuk Heng Huck Lee lauded the state government’s measures to curb the spread of Covid 19 in Bayan Lepas.

“These measures, however, should not disrupt the operation or production of all the companies in the industrial zones, ” he said.

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