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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, April 6: The Sarawak government will continue to allow multinational electronics manufacturing companies to operate in Samajaya Industrial Park as they have been observing stringent health measures in view of the Covid-19 pandemic during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industry Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais disclosed other stringent measures are also being taken by the respective companies operating at the industrial park.
“We are monitoring them on a daily basis. So too, their respective management are doing the same thing on all their staff who are working on shifts,” Naroden told DayakDaily today.
He reiterated that all the electronics manufacturing companies operating in Samajaya only allow 20 per cent of their staff to work during the MCO to ensure their safety.
“The management will ensure all staff who work on shifts provide details of their movements, especially to trace whether they have participated in any large gatherings. If they are detected to have participated, they will be advised not to come to work,” he said.
Additionally, those coming to work must use hand sanitiser before they put on personal protective equipment (PPE), which most of them have been practising as part of their health and safety protection procedures, before they proceed to work, he added.
Naroden also disclosed that those who come to work will have to use their respective companies’ vans where only four persons are allowed per trip to observe social distancing as required under MCO.
“Because of these stringent measures that we are taking, as well as the measures taken by the respective management of these multinational companies, they will be allowed to continue operating at this point of time,” he said.
Currently, there are 17 multinational companies operating in Samajaya Industrial Estate an employing some 11,000 people, who are mostly from rural areas.
“So, we can’t simply ask these multinational companies to stop operating during the MCO period as they have to meet the demand of the global market.
“My ministry will not hesitate to take action by recommending closure to the government or the State Disaster Management Committee if any of the companies do not comply,” he cautioned.
Naroden was commenting on Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s recent call for the Sarawak government not to compromise on the effectiveness of the MCO by granting exemption to factories in the park to continue their operations.
According to Chong who is Stampin MP in a statement yesterday, the Sarawak government should stop the operations of these factories in Samajaya as they are not in the list of essential services.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Datuk Richard Wee highlighted these companies operating at Samajaya are all multinational companies which operate with high-level standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“My experience working with them stemmed from the days when I was running Eastern Oxygen Sdn Bhd supplying gases for their production process.
“During the SARS and H1N1 outbreaks in Asian countries, though we were not very much affected, all of the companies in Samajaya activated their Crisis Management Teams and activated their SOP for all their employees, their suppliers and their contractors to comply with their strict work processes to ensure the safety of their companies and the welfare of their employees.
“I hope the companies in Samajaya will continue to maintain their highest standards of safety and hygiene in protecting their workplace in the interest of the welfare and the well-being of their employees,” he said.
Wee also agreed with Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) secretary-general Jonathan Chai that there must be valid reasons for the government to give exemption to the factories in Samajaya to carry on their operations at minimal levels during the MCO period.
Chai was quoted as saying that besides meeting the global supply chain, Wuhan in China and Singapore did not shut down their production plants during their lockdown period.