PETALING JAYA: The National Security Council (NSC) has been asked to urgently set up a dedicated joint taskforce to look into management of Covid-19 in factories located in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor during the EMCO period.

“We appreciate all the government had done to accelerate screening and vaccinations, but in KL and Selangor MEF recommends that a dedicated taskforce be urgently set up involving the local authorities to plan and execute the reduction of Covid-19 infections,” its president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said yesterday.

“This dedicated taskforce should only focus on these two areas whereby the local authorities could provide details of the factories while the federal authorities work on the screening and vaccination of those working at those factories.

“Without a dedicated taskforce, it will take a long time as the NSC’s main focus is to achieve herd vaccinations for the whole country.To operationalise targeted screening and vaccination, this dedicated taskforce must be set up.”

Syed Hussain said the main objective of this taskforce is to track down all workers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor to quickly address the increasing number of infections as this is would allow all factories and businesses to return to business, especially knowing that 40% of the revenue comes from the EMCO areas.

Apart from the approved factories, there are many illegal factories in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur which do not follow the SOP, he added.

In 2020, the authorities estimated more than 5,600 unlicensed factories operating in the Selangor and the Klang Valley.

“These illegal factories should also be identified and their workers screened and vaccinated. If we don’t then the issue will not be addressed,” Syed Hussain said.

“The local and federal authorities need to work closely together but action should not be taken against the owners of the illegal factories as the objective is to vaccinate in order to bring down the number of infections.

“We must be bold to accept that these legal and illegal factories exist, and they should be the focus of the proposed dedicated taskforce. We hope the NSC and State authorities will put aside any political differences to solve the issue of increasing infections fast because many employers are suffering together with their employees.”

Large multinational companies based in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are also concerned that the prolonged lockdown will effect supplies to international markets, he pointed out.