PETALING JAYA: Iron and steel hardware dealers, resellers and wholesalers should be allowed to operate during the lockdown period, the Federation of Malaysia Building Equipment, Machinery and Building Material Dealers Association said ( FMHMBA).
President Datuk Eric Koh said more than 80% of the association’s 3,000 members nationwide are small and medium-sized businesses and have been severely affected since the first movement control order last year.
“We understand the difficulties of our government as it strives to find a balance between managing the pandemic and ensuring a minimum of adversity for the economy.
“However, we urge the Department of Home Trade and Consumer Affairs to allow iron and steel hardware, stockists and wholesalers to continue to support all other critical sectors during the extended lockdown period with reduced workers on the job. site of no more than 60% and 40% working from home, âhe said in a statement on Saturday (June 19).
Koh added that the hardware sector is part of the supply chain to support essential sectors such as palm oil, food, beverage, agriculture, plantations, electricity, water, chemicals and rubber gloves.
âDuring the extended lockdown, many non-core industries went out of business, so business transactions are very limited.
âThe hardware business simply operates to ensure a continuous supply to other critical industries such as utilities, food, oil and gas, chemicals, rubber gloves, personal protective equipment (PPE ) and other products so as not to disrupt the supply chain of essential consumer products, he argued.
He also urged the government to provide appropriate guidance and instruction on the implementation of standard operating procedures for businesses during the lockdown.
âIn fact, many SOP violations are unintentional because many don’t know it.
“We believe the government has a responsibility to guide and help businesses through the relevant agencies to comply with the SOP rather than immediately penalizing business owners,” he said.
Citing an example, Koh said some business premises received a notice consisting of RM 10,000 for not having dedicated entry and exit lanes, as well as fines to employers when their employees forgot to use the MySejahtera application.
“The RM 10,000 sentence is definitely too heavy in such a case. Comparatively, it is a much heavier sentence than other criminal or civil offenses,” Koh added.