Factory making helmets operated under pretext of making PPE during lockdown

BUTTERWORTH: The management of a factory producing helmets is in hot water after it continued to run its operations during the nationwide lockdown.

North Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Noorzainy Mohd Noor said the factory owner had produced an International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) letter stating that it manufactured personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks and gloves when asked by the police for official permission documents during an integrated operation yesterday.

“According to the Miti letter, the factory manufactured items that were listed under the essential items list but during our inspection we found that the factory manufactured helmets.

“The factory owner has clearly violated the regulations by continuing to operate during the lockdown, ” he added.

ACP Noorzainy said a closure order was issued for the factory in accordance with Rule 17 of

the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Measures Within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2021.

He said the factory was also fined RM10,000 for violating the standard operating procedure during the lockdown period.

ACP Noorzainy, however, said the factory complied with the 60% worker capacity rule.

“The closure will take effect immediately and an official complaint will be lodged by the Labour Department to Miti regarding the matter.”

Several others agencies were also involved in the operation.

They were the Labour Department, Human Resources Ministry, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Seberang Prai City Council and state Health Department.

During the operation, an enforcement team from the Labour Department inspected the factory’s foreign workers’ hostel and found that the factory was not complying with the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act or Act 446.

The department assistant director, Nadzrah Yusof, said the accommodation provided by the employer was not done according to specifications stated in Act 446.

“An investigation paper will be filed against the factory owner, ” she said.

Separately, a total of RM46,000 in fines were issued to 15 individuals for violating the SOP during the first day of lockdown.

ACP Noorzainy said the individuals were fined for various offences such as attempting to cross state districts and not practising physical distancing.

“All of them aged between 24 and 65 years old were fined between RM4,000 and RM5,000 each, ” he added.

He said nine of them would also be investigated under Section 6 (1) of the Common Gaming Houses Act for illegal gambling activities.

He added that police confiscated several items that were used, including more than RM800 in cash.

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