Furniture manufacturers: Two-dose regimen done, let us reopen

JOHOR BARU: Furniture manufacturing firms whose employees have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have urged the local authorities to allow them to resume operations immediately in order to remain competitive in the global market.

Federation of Johor Furniture Manufacturers and Traders Associations president Steve Ong said the workers at a handful of the major furniture firms have completed the two-dose regimen while most workers in other firms have got their first jab.

Under the International Trade and Industry Ministry’s Covid-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS), economic sectors in Phase One states including Johor are allowed to resume work if their workers are fully vaccinated, he said.

“It is also clearly stated that workers do not need to observe a 14-day waiting period after their full inoculation,” he added.

Ong said the manufacturers are therefore puzzled as to why the Muar Municipal Council is insisting on the 14-day rule before they are permitted to resume operations.

About 70% of Malaysia’s furniture is produced in Johor, particularly Muar.

Ong, also the Muar Furniture Association chairman, has urged the authorities to allow them to operate because aside from the need to address backlog orders, they are also trying to woo back their customers after losing them to neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

“Many local and overseas clients cancelled their orders when the manufacturing sector was not permitted to operate under the nation’s strict movement control restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19,” Ong said.

“Now that the vaccination rate in the industry is gradually increasing, we hope to resume work as soon as possible to avoid losing more clients to the other markets.

“This can also help the industry’s struggling micro as well as small and medium enterprises to survive through the pandemic,” he added.

Ong also reminded furniture manufacturers and those in the related businesses to comply with the stringent standard operating procedure to ensure a smooth economic recovery.

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