Dealing with a delicate matter


Ong (third right) and other attendees watching Jagdeep plant a tree at the P84 rest area on Penang Hill. With them are Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai (right) and Lions Club George Town president Vincent Yen (with yellow vest). — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

ANOTHER round of the full-scale movement control order (MCO) will bring devastating effects to the industry, said Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang chairman Datuk Jimmy Ong.

He said this year, the industry was trying to pick up and many companies finally started growing and getting things moving.

“It has been just over a year since the first MCO last year and industry players are trying to pick up this year. Things are slowly starting to grow.

“If a throughout lockdown is imposed again, it will have devastating effects.

“But anyhow, we will leave it to the authorities to make the decision, ” he said at an AED unit handover ceremony at the P84 rest area on Penang Hill yesterday.

Ong said industry players hoped that if the MCO is being considered, factories can still continue to operate.

“Multinational corporations contribute a lot to the economy in Penang and Malaysia so there needs to be a balance between health security and economic activity.

“We leave it to the Health Ministry and International Trade and Industry Ministry to make good judgments in this aspect.”

He reminded companies to be vigilant and proactive in doing more screenings, adding that the screening of factory workers seemed to have slowed down.

“This is because the government only implemented compulsory screening until March.

“After March, there were less screenings done as many industries stopped regularly screening their workers.

“Our advice to these industries is to screen their workers, because if we were to wait for vaccines, it may take a few more months.

“Only by screening can they pick up the cases early, ” he added.

Penang local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, who was present, said there should not be a blanket MCO imposed on the entire state.

“We hope it will be at targeted areas and not be done to the entire state.

“We have seen the effects of the first MCO on the economy last year, so we hope there will be no blanket MCO.

“If there are areas that need to be shut down, then target those areas, ” he said.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin issued a statement that the MCO is being reviewed in several states, including Penang, owing to the surge in Covid-19 new cases.

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