Kenyataan Media Dr Ong Kian Ming, Ahli Parlimen Bangi dan Penolong Pengarah Pendidikan Politik Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP) pada 21 Oktober 2020

Kekeliruan dan Percangahhan di Antara MITI and Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN)

Pada 20 Oktober 2020, Menteri Kanan merangkap Menteri Pertahanan, Ismail Sabri, mengumumkan bahawa semua pekerja barisan pengurusan dan penyeliaan di sektor swasta dan awam akan Bekerja Dari Rumah (BDR) mulai 22 Oktober 2020. Sejak pengumuman ini, telah terjadi kekeliruan antara Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri (MITI) dan Majlis Keselamatan Nasional (MKN) mengenai dasar dan SOP untuk wilayah di bawah Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Bersyarat (PKPB) iaitu di Lembah Klang dan Sabah. Pengumuman oleh kedua-dua Menteri, Azmin Ali dan Ismail Sabri, telah menimbulkan lebih banyak persoalan daripada memberi jawapan.

  1. Mana sektor dan industri yang perlu Bekerja Dari Rumah (BDR)?

Pemahaman awalnya adalah bahawa arahan ini akan melibatkan SEMUA sektor di sektor swasta. Ini berdasarkan kenyataan media yang dikeluarkan oleh Menteri MITI, Azmin Ali, pada 21 Oktober yang meruju kepada 3.1 juta pekerja di Lembah Klang dan Sabah yang bekerja di sektor pembuatan, perkhidmatan dan pembinaan. [1] 

Tetapi dalam sidang akhbarnya pada jam 6 petang 21 Oktober, Ismail Sabri menyatakan bahawa hanya “industri dan perkhidmatan awam” yang akan terlibat. Dia juga dilaporkan mengatakan bahawa sektor runcit tidak termasuk dalam “industri” dan ini bertentangan dengan kenyataan MITI yang dikeluarkan pada hari yang sama. [2]

2) Siapa sebenarnya barisan pengurusan dan penyeliaan? Apakah definisi MITI?

Banyak syarikat masih belum pasti siapa sebenarnya yang terdiri daripada barisan pengurusan dan penyelia. Ini sangat relevan di sektor perkhidmatan profesional di mana hampir semua orang di atas tahap kemasukan mempunyai sekurang-kurangnya beberapa tanggungjawab penyeliaan. MITI mungkin lebih biasa dengan sektor pembuatan di mana sebahagian besar kakitangan bekerja di kilang dan di mana nisbah penyelia dengan pekerja “blue-collar” sangat tinggi. Model yang sama tidak boleh digunakan dalam sektor perkhidmatan perakaunan, perundangan, IT dan kewangan kerana bilangan pekerja “white collar” adalah lebih tinggi.

3) Bagi 10% barisan pengurusan dan penyeliaan yang masuk pejabat untuk bekerja, apakah susunan kerja terperinci? (misalnya bekerja dalam shift, bekerja selama 4 jam tetapi tidak semestinya dari 10 pagi hingga 2 petang, dll.)

MITI mungkin mendapat tekanan dari dewan perdagangan dan kumpulan industry. Tekanan ini mungkin menyebabkan pihak MITI membenarkan 10% barisan pengurusan dan penyeliaan termasuk mereka yang mempunyai tanggungjawab dalam bidang perakaunan, kewangan, pentadbiran, perundangan, perancangan dan ICT untuk datang ke pejabat dari jam 10 pagi hingga 2 petang selama 3 hari dalam seminggu. Tidak dinyatakan sama ada syarikat dapat menyesuaikan waktu kerja ini misalyna dari jam 9 pagi hingga 1 tengah hari atau dari 12 tengah hari hingga 4 petang. Tidak jelas juga jika syarikat boleh menggilir kakitangan yang boleh masuk ke pejabat selama 4 jam sehari, 3 hari seminggu. Dalam wawancara dengan Astro Awani, Timbalan Ketua Setiausaha MITI, Norazman Ayob, menjelaskan bahawa syarikat-syarikat boleh memilih bagaimana mereka mahu menetapkan barisan pengurusan mereka untuk masuk ke pejabat secara bergilir tetapi ini tidak dimasukkan ke dalam kenyataan media MITI. [3]

Di samping itu, pengaturan kerja untuk staf penyeliaan ini tidak mengambil kira sektor pembuatan yang perlu mengoperasikan kilang mereka secara 24/7. Mengehadkan waktu bekerja dari pukul 10 pagi hingga 2 petang tidak sesuai untuk barisan penyeliaan yang harus menjaga “shift workers” pada waktu yang berbeza di kilang pembuatan.

4) Bagaimana dengan syarikat-syarikat yang tidak dapat berfungsi dengan baik jikalau hanya 10% barisan pengurusan dan penyeliaan bekerja di pejabat untuk hanya 4 jam selama 3 hari seminggu?

Arahan MITI hanya membenarkan 10% barisan pengurusan dan penyeliaan masuk ke pejabat untuk bekerja boleh menjejaskan operasi syarikat di sektor tertentu. Ini sangat relevan untuk sektor-sektor di mana barisan pengurusan dan penyelia perlu berinteraksi secara langsung (“face to face”) dengan pelanggan mereka misalnya dalam perkhidmatan kewangan dan penjualan.

Adakah MITI akan membuat pengecualian untuk sektor-sektor yang dapat menunjukkan bahawa mereka tidak dapat beroperasi dengan baik dengan hanya 10% barisan pengurusan dan penyeliaan yang bekerja di pejabat?

5) Bagaimana dengan perniagaan kecil yang pekerjanya kurang dari 10 orang?

Terdapat juga soalan yang ditujukan di media sosial MITI yang membangkitkan soalan mengenai syarikat yang mempunyai kurang daripada 10 kakitangan. Adakah ini bermaksud bahawa bagi syarikat-syarikat ini, tidak ada kakitangan pengurusan atau penyelia yang dapat bekerja di pejabat?

6) Adakah ujian swab bagi mereka yang masih harus pergi bekerja wajib? Atau hanya untuk mereka yang berada di zon merah? Atau hanya untuk kategori pekerja dalam industri tertentu?

Salah satu kekeliruan utama adalah sama ada kakitangan yang tidak dapat bekerja dari rumah perlu menjalani ujian swab sebelum datang ke pejabat untuk bekerja. Isu ini tidak dijawab dalam kenyataan media MITI. Kemudiannya ini diperjelaskan oleh Ismail Sabri dalam sidang medianya. Ujian swab COVID 19 hanya diwajibkan untuk pekerja di sektor pembinaan dan keselamatan dan pekerja yang menunjukkan gejala. Bagi pekerja di zon merah yang harus pergi ke pejabat, tidak wajib tetapi mereka sangat digalakkan untuk menjalani ujian swab. (Lihat Rajah 1 di bawah)

Oleh kerana penjelasan ini hanya dikeluarkan pada petang semalam, banyak syarikat telah membuat pengaturan agar kakitangan mereka diuji. Ini adalah kos tambahan bagi syarikat yang sudah mengalami tekanan kewangan kerana pandemi COVID.

Sebagai tambahan, bagi mereka yang ingin menuntut perbelanjaan ujian swab dari PERKESO (maksimum RM150 setiap ujian), mereka hanya boleh pergi ke SATU klinik panel di seluruh negara iaitu rangkaian klinik kesihatan BP. [4]Bilangan klinik panel harus ditingkatkan sehingga kesulitan dapat diminimumkan dan lebih banyak klinik dapat menawarkan perkhidmatan ujian COVID mereka.

7) Kawasan mana yang diklasifikasi sebagai zon merah?

Juga tidak jelas daerah / kawasan mana yang diklasifikasikan sebagai zon merah oleh Majlis Keselamatan Nasional (MKN) untuk tujuan ujian swab COVID. Sebagai contoh, Rajah 2 di bawah menunjukkan bahawa terdapat 5 daerah (“daerah) yang dianggap sebagai zon merah di Selangor – Petaling, Hulu Langat, Gombak, Klang, Sepang dan Kuala Langat.

Tetapi menurut Rajah 3 di bawah ini, tidak semua mukim diklasifikasikan sebagai zona merah di dalam daerah zon merah. Contohnya, mukim Kapar di daerah Klang adalah zon kuning dan hanya mukim Kajang di daerah Hulu Langat yang diklasifikasikan sebagai zon merah. Adakah ini bermaksud bahawa mereka yang berada di mukim Cheras di Hulu Langat (zon kuning) tidak digalakkan untuk menjalani ujian swab dan hanya mereka yang bekerja di mukim Kajang yang harus melakukan ujian swab?

Sebagai tambahan, adakah syarikat mengetahui batas sebenar daerah / mukim ini? Sebagai Ahli Parlimen Bangi, saya tidak 100% pasti di mana batas mukim Cheras di Hulu Langat bermula dan berakhir dan di mana sempadan mukim Kajang bermula dan berakhir. Saya cukup yakin bahawa banyak syarikat juga akan keliru tentang mukim mereka.

8) Apakah hukuman yang akan dikenaka untuk ketidakpatuhan?

MITI telah mengumumkan bahawa mereka akan melakukan pemeriksaan (“spot check”) ke atas syarikat untuk memastikan bahawa mereka mematuhi syarat yang diumumkan di bawah PKPB. Tetapi adakah adil untuk menghukum syarikat yang tidak dapat mematuhi syarat ini memandangkan kekurangan maklumat daripada pihak MITI dan juga kenyataan yang bercanggah antara MITI dan MKN? Saya berharap bahawa syarikat tidak akan dihukum kerana arahan yang tidak jelas daripada pihak MITI dan MKN.

9) Di manakah FAQ terperinci yang sepatutnya dikeluarkan oleh MITI?

Kenyataan MITI pada 21 Oktober menimbulkan lebih banyak persoalan daripada jawapan. Ini adalah sebab utama mengapa MITI seharusnya mengeluarkan Soalan Lazim (FAQ) terperinci untuk menjawab soalan khusus dari syarikat-syarikat yang menimbulkan soalan. Sebilangan jawapan nampaknya diberikan oleh Timbalan Ketua Setiausaha (TKSU) MITI, Norazman Ayob, semasa sesi dialog bersama industri pada 21 Oktober. Tetapi oleh kerana jawapan ini tidak disahkan oleh MITI, syarikat tidak dapat menganggap bahawa ini adalah pendirian rasmi kerajaan. MITI masih perlu berusaha untuk  menjawab soalan-soalan ini dengan mengeluarkan FAQ yang terperinci.

Kekeliruan dan kekurangnya dari segi penjelasan daripada pihak MITI dan MKN bermaksud bahawa majikan dan perniagaan akan beroperasi di bawah suasana kekeliruan apabila arahan PKPB ini bermula pada 22 Oktober 2020.



[4] https://psp.perkeso.gov.my/direktori-panel-perkhidmatan.html


[3]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbAszhN75hc&feature=youtu.be


[2] https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/547506


[1] https://www.miti.gov.my/miti/resources/Media%20Release/Siaran_Media_-_Sektor_Ekonomi_Disaran_Untuk_Mempertingkatkan_Amalan_Bekerja_Dari_Rumah_Bagi_Kakitangan_Pengurusan_Dan_Penyeliaan.pdf

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 21st of October 2020

Confusion and contradictions at MITI and the National Security Council (NSC)

On the 20th of October, 2020, the Senior Minister and Minister of Defence, Ismail Sabri, announced that all workers in management and supervisory positions in the private and public sectors would Work From Home (WFH) starting on the 22nd of October, 2020. Since this announcement, there has been utter confusion between the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the National Security Council (NSC) on the policies and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the areas under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) namely the Klang Valley and Sabah. The announcements by the two Ministers, Azmin Ali and Ismail Sabri, have raised more questions than answers.

1) Which are sectors and industries which are affected by this Work From Home (WFH) order?

The initial understanding was that this directive would affect ALL sectors in the private sector. This is based on the press statement issued by MITI Minister, Azmin Ali, on the 21st of October which mentions the 3.1 million workers in the Klang Valley and Sabah that are in the manufacturing, services and construction sectors.1 But in his press conference at 6pm on the 21st of October, Ismail Sabri stated that only “industries and the civil service” will be affected. He was also reported to have said that the retail sector does not fall under “industries” which contradicts MITI’s earlier statement on the same day.2

2) Who exactly are the management and supervisory staff? What is MITI’s definition?

Many companies are still not sure of who exactly constitutes management and supervisory staff. This is especially relevant in the professional services sector where almost everyone beyond the entry level would have at least some supervisory responsibilities. MITI may be more familiar with the manufacturing sector where the majority of the staff work on the factory floor and where the ratio of supervisors to blue collar workers is very high. The same model cannot be used in the accounting, legal, IT and financial services sectors because of the higher number of white collar workers .

3) For the 10% of management and supervisory staff who can come in to work, what are the detailed working arrangements?(e.g. working in shifts, working for 4 hours but not from 10am to 2pm necessarily, etc…)

MITI probably relented from pressure from the chambers of commerce and industry groups when it allowed 10% of management and supervisory staff including those with responsibilities in accounting, finance, administration, legal, planning and ICT to come to the office from 10am to 2pm for 3 days a week. It is not stated whether a company can adjust these working hours e.g. from 9am to 1pm or from 12pm to 4pm. It is also not clear if companies can rotate the staff who can come into the office for 4 hours a day, 3 days a week. In an interview with Astro Awani, the Deputy Secretary General of MITI, Norazman Ayob, did clarify to say that the companies can pick and choose how they want to assign their management staff to come into the office on a rotation basis but this was not incorporated into the MITI media statement.3 In addition, this working arrangement for the supervisory staff does not take into account manufacturing facilities which have to operate their plants on a 24/7 basis. Limiting the working hours from 10am to 2pm would not work for the supervisory staff which have to oversee different shifts at different times in a manufacturing facility.

4) What about those companies which cannot function properly with only 10% of management and supervisory staff at the office and working only 4 hours for 3 days a week?

MITI’s directive of only allowing 10% of management and supervisory staff to come into the office to work may disrupt the operations of companies in certain sectors. This is especially relevant for the sectors where management and supervisory staff are required to have face to face engagement with their customers for example in financial services and sales. Will MITI make exceptions for sectors which can demonstrate that they cannot function properly with only 10% of management and supervisory staff working at the office?

5) What about small businesses with less than 10 employees?

There were also questions directed at MITI’s social media asking about companies with less than 10 staff. Does this mean that for these companies, no management or supervisory staff can work at the office?

6) Are swab tests for those who still have to go to work mandatory?

Or only for those in the red zones? Or only for certain categories of workers or industries? One of the major areas of confusion was whether staff who cannot work from home needed to undergo swab tests before coming to the office to work. This issue was not addressed in the MITI media statement and was only subsequent clarified by Ismail Sabri in his media conference. The COVID 19 swab tests was only compulsory for those workers in the construction and security sectors and those workers with symptoms. For workers in the red zones who have to go to the office, it is not mandatory but they are highly encouraged to go for a swab test. (See Figure 1 below) Because this clarification only came out yesterday evening, many companies had already made arrangements for their staff to be tested. This is an additional cost to companies which are already under financial pressures because of the COVID pandemic. In addition, for those who want to claim the swab test expense from SOCSO (max of RM150 per test), they can only go to ONE panel clinic in the entire country which is the BP chain of health clinics.4 The number of panel clinics should be increased so that bottlenecks can be minimized and more clinics can offer their COVID testing services.

7) Where are the red zones exactly?

It is also not clear which districts / areas are considered as red zones by the National Security Council (NSC) for the purposes of testing. For example, Figure 2 below shows that there are 5 districts (“daerahs) which are considered red zones in Selangor – Petaling, Hulu Langat, Gombak, Klang, Sepang and Kuala Langat. But according to Figure 3 below, not all of the sub-districts (“mukim) are classified as red zones within the red zone districts. For example, the Kapar mukim in the Klang district is a yellow zone and only the Kajang mukim in the Hulu Langat district is classified as a red zone. Does this mean that those who are in the Cheras mukim in Hulu Langat (a yellow zone) are not encouraged to go for swab tests and only those who are working in the Kajang mukim should go for the swab tests? In addition, do companies know the exact boundaries of these mukims / sub-districts? As the Member of Parliament for Bangi, I am not 100% sure where the boundaries of the Cheras mukim in Hulu Langat starts and ends and where the boundaries of the Kajang mukim starts and ends. I am quite certain that many companies will also be confused as to the mukim they are located in.

8) What is the punishment for non-compliance?

MITI has announced that they will be doing spot checks on companies to make sure that they comply with the conditions announced under the CMCO. But is it fair to punish companies who are not able to comply to these conditions because of the lack of details on the part of MITI and contradictory statements between MITI and the NSC? I can only hope that companies will not be punished as a result of unclear instructions on the part of MITI and the NSC.

9) Where are the detailed FAQs by MITI?

MITI’s statement on the 21st of October raised more questions than answers. This is why MITI should have issued a detailed FAQ to answer specific questions from the companies affected by this directive. Some details were apparently given by Deputy Secretary General Norazman during an industry engagement session on the 21st of October. But because these details are not confirmed by MITI, companies cannot assume that this is the official position of the government. MITI still has a lot of work to do to answer these questions by issuing a detailed FAQ. The confusion and the lack of clarity on the part of MITI and the NSC means that employers and businesses will be operating under a cloud of confusion when this directive starts on the 22nd of October 2020.

1 https://www.miti.gov.my/miti/resources/Media%20Release/Siaran_Media_- _Sektor_Ekonomi_Disaran_Untuk_Mempertingkatkan_Amalan_Bekerja_Dari_Rumah_Bagi_Kakitangan_Pengurusan_Dan_Penyeliaan.pdf

2 https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/547506

3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbAszhN75hc&feature=youtu.be

4 https://psp.perkeso.gov.my/direktori-panel-perkhidmatan.html

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 12th of October 2020

Postponement of the 2020 Census is a good move but more needs to be done to prepare for the face to face census taking in 2021

The census, which takes place once every 10 years, is an important data collecting exercise for the country. The census data will be used by government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels for planning purposes and allocation of resources. The private sector will also use the census for various purposes including planning for future housing development and retail areas. As such, it is important to ensure that the results of the 2020 census are as accurate as possible. Unfortunately, the COVID 19 virus has the potential to disrupt the collection of information for the 2020 census.

The announcement by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mustapa Mohamed, and Malaysia’s Chief Statistician, Dr. Mohd Uzir Mahidin, on the 5th of October 2020 that the face to face portion of the 2020 Census will be postponed to 2021 is a much welcomed move. The announcement that the e-census deadline will be extended from the 30th of September 2020 to the 21st of December 2020 is also a good move. This is in view of the growing number of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the country. But the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), which is in charge of the 2020 Census, needs to do more to prepare for the face-to-face census taking which will take place from the 20th of January to the 6th of February in 2021.

As of the 4th of October 2020, only 3.25 million of the population or approximately 10% had been recorded using the 2020 E-Census. This relatively low response rate could be caused by a number of factors including (i) Respondents have not received the ‘postcard’ from DOSM with the ‘invitation code’ to fill in the e-census (ii) Respondent not knowing how to access the E-Census website (iii) Respondents not knowing how to fill up the E-census. I filled up the census for my household of 2 persons and it took me more than half an hour to fill in the response to more than 100 questions. Those who have not yet filled up the E-Census are likely to be from groups that are less IT savvy, from the older generation, or living in the rural areas. While it is a positive move to encourage more people to fill up the Census electronically, the reality is that the majority of the census will have to be filled using face-to-face interviews.

According to figures from the Census website, many of the states with large rural populations have recorded a relatively low response rate to the E-CENSUS including Kelantan (4.1%), Sabah (4.3%), Terengganu (4.6%), Kedah (7.7%), Pahang (8.5%) and Sarawak (8.5%). (See Table 1 below). At the same time, Selangor, the state with the largest population in Malaysia (6.3 million or approximately 20% of the country’s population), which is also an urbanized state, only had a response rate of 11.2% as of the 4th of October, 2020.

Even with the extension of the deadline for the e-census to the 21st of December 2020, it is likely that as much as 80% of the 8 million households in Malaysia will have to fill up the 2020 Census using the face-to-face method. DOSM has set the dates of the 20th of January to the 6th of February 2021 for the completion of the face-to-face portion of the 2020 Census.[1]With a window of 17 days and perhaps as many as 6.4 million households to survey across the country, it is estimated that DOSM will require at least 38,000 census takers/enumerators [2]. For Sarawak alone, it is estimated that 8000 census takers are needed[3].

These census takers need to be trained on how to help the respondents fill up the census including in languages other than Bahasa Malaysia (BM), if necessary[4], and they have to be mobilized to their designated areas.

Table 1: % of Households Completing the Census Electronically i.e. using the E-CENSUS[5] Source: https://www.mycensus.gov.my/index.php/media-2/press-release

The original timeline for the face-to-face portion of the census was supposed to have taken place from the 7th of October to the 24th of October 2020. In the leadup to this original start date, my office started receiving many messages from the Hulu Langat district office and other sources regarding a recruitment drive for census takers. I am not sure if the quota was these census takers were filled up but I foresee a similar challenge for DOSM to recruit and fill up these temporary positions in 2021.

I call upon DOSM to work with the various agencies at the state and federal levels including those who are searching for jobs to fill up these temporary positions.[6]The recruitment drive should start earlier in order to avoid last minute requests to fill these positions. Finally, DOSM should also consider increasing the length of time for the face-to-face census from 17 days to 24 days or even longer since the census filling process may take a longer time because of COVID 19 related safety precautions and SOPs.

[1] 12th of February 2021 is the 1st day of the Chinese New Year holidays.

[2] Assuming one census taker can survey up to 10 respondents a day (which is quite optimistic) or 170 surveys over 17 days and 6.4 million households to survey across the country.

[3]https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/02/19/8024-vacancies-as-enumerators-in-statistics-dept-available/

[4]Other than BM, the 2020 census is also available in English, Kadazan, Iban, Chinese, and Tamil.

[5]https://ecensus.mycensus.gov.my/landing

[6]These census takers are paid RM54 a day