PETALING JAYA: Manufacturers, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are appealing to the government for leeway to allow them to operate under strict conditions if the current movement control order (MCO) were to be extended beyond April 14.

Manufacturers and SMEs made the call following anticipated announcement by the government on whether to extend the MCO.

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang hoped that the government would allow businesses to operate should the MCO period be extended.

He hoped that all SMEs be allowed to operate but under the same conditions imposed on outlets or companies that were currently operating under the present MCO.

“Even if it’s not for all businesses, but at least for all online businesses and exporters.

“This is to make sure our economy is moving; if not, a lot of businesses will be shut down,” said Kang.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the manufacturing sector should be allowed to operate with a minimum workforce should there be an extension.

However, he added, this must be subjected to safety measures at the workplace or factories.

“Our view is to let all manufacturing sectors run minimum with 50% workforce and to adhere to a Covid-19 SOP at the workplace,” he said yesterday.

National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap said the government needed to find a good balance between containing the Covid-19 outbreak and minimising financial losses by businesses to save jobs.

“The chamber has conveyed its reservations to some key ministers pertaining to the MCO approach in providing some flexibility to allow other economic sectors and businesses to continue operation,” he said.

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