Allow 50% workforce in three sectors, govt urged

KUALA LUMPUR: The Lion Group is urging the government to allow at least half of the workforce within the manufacturing, construction and mining sectors to resume operations during the movement control order (MCO).

Executive chairman Tan Sri William Cheng said currently about 80% of the businesses in the manufacturing, construction and mining sectors were not working, which will result in a combined loss of 2.5% or RM35.4bil per month to gross domestic product.

“It is anticipated that the Covid-19 pandemic in our country may last another 1.5 to two months before reaching its peak and coming down.

“Hence, we urge the government to allow the manufacturing, construction and mining sectors to resume work with 50% of their workforce in order to create the economic activities needed to stimulate the economy, ” he told StarBizWeek yesterday.

The Lion Group is involved in the retail, property development, mining, steel, agriculture and computer sectors.

The MCO, which was originally scheduled to end on March 31, has been extended to April 14 due to the growing number of Covid-19 infections in the country.

Cheng, who is also president of the Malaysia Steel Association, noted that during the Covid-19 lockdown in Wuhan, China in February and March, operations like the Wuhan steel mill and other manufacturing activities were still allowed to carry on, subject to precautionary measures being taken.

“Today, more than 95% of their factories, construction and mining activities have resumed work.

“Manufacturing and other industries in Korea, Japan and Singapore, which have also been affected by Covid-19, are still operating.

“We wish to propose to our government to allow these industries to restart, possibly at 50% and 60% initially and to increase progressively.

“We will remind and emphasise to all the industries allowed to operate to ensure precautionary measures to avoid…

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