MTUC has questioned how the international trade and industry ministry allowed factories producing shoes, books and steel to operate, despite being listed as non-essential.

PETALING JAYA: Many workers have fallen victim to the confusion surrounding the operation of essential services, says the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).

MTUC secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor said the congress was disappointed that the international trade and industry ministry (Miti) still allowed factories producing shoes, books and steel to operate, although these are listed as non-essential.

If workers failed to report for duty at these factories producing non-essential items, Kamarul said they could face disciplinary action from their employers.

“Workers can be penalised by the authorities for not complying with SOPs during work. Disciplinary action will be taken against them if the company finds out that the worker made a complaint to Miti,” he said in a statement.

He urged Miti to better review applications under its Covid-19 intelligent management system (CIMS) 3.0 and to clarify why certain factories were placed under the essential sector.

“This will enable workers to conduct assessments and subsequently report to Miti if their companies do not fulfil the requirements to operate.”

He also called on Miti to allow MTUC officers to work throughout the two-week lockdown to settle issues concerning employees, adding that failure to do so would make it seem like workers were not prioritised.

It was previously reported that 128,150 companies involving 1.57 million employees had been given approval to remain operational during the lockdown as of 7.30am today.


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