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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Govt to revoke 'work-from-home' mandate effective April 1

 


The government will revoke its ‘work-from-home’ mandate for factories effective April 1, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced today.

He said the National Security Council (NSC) has agreed with the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) to drop the requirements after it was found to be difficult to implement since its introduction in October last year.

Previously, the government imposed restrictions on the number of management and supervisory staff allowed to be in their offices for places under a conditional movement control order (MCO).

The order applies to industries under Miti’s purview as well as the civil service and was estimated to affect one million workers.

Ismail said there are three reasons to now drop the restrictions.

“Firstly, the work-from-home order is difficult to implement because operations cannot be done remotely.

“Secondly, factory operations often involve complex and technical processes that require the presence of various teams comprising management and supervisory staff. In addition, they are required to work at the same time.

“Thirdly, the revocation of this condition would give companies the opportunity to operate at its maximum level,” he told a press conference that was aired live today.

Further details will be made available on the NSC’s website, and queries can be directed to Miti, he said.

Other private-sector employees are also allowed to work at full capacity, while civil servants should refer to whatever government circulars that are in effect, he added.

As for domestic workers, Ismail said the general ban on importing migrant labour still stands, but domestic workers who already have work visas but were stranded abroad when international borders closed can now travel to Malaysia.

They may apply to travel through the Immigration Department’s My Travel Pass facility. The cost of their quarantine would be borne by their employers.

However, Ismail said domestic worker agencies are allowed to process applications for new workers even though they would not be allowed to enter the country until travel restrictions were lifted.

This is because it would require three to four months to get the necessary paperwork in order.

“They (the Association of Foreign Domestic Workers Agencies) asked to process (the applications) first because they said - suppose we suddenly opened borders in August or September and only allow them to process applications then - it would take up to four months to process it.

“So, if we open borders in August, they would only be able to bring in workers in December. But if we allow them to process applications now, and announce the reopening of borders in August, they could bring in workers without delay,” he said. - Mkini

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