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BANTING: The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) estimates that the timber sector has suffered a loss of RM60 million a day as it was not able to operate for two months following the implementation of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the loss was only a rough estimate which did not include contracts lost due to the inability to supply the commodity to customers.

“All this is disrupted due to the (NRP) plan we have now and we have to persevere to ensure the people do not face a worse Covid-19 outbreak,“ he told reporters after visiting the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) Industrial Vaccination Centre (PPVIN) in Olak Lempit under the Vaccination Programme for the Agri-Commodity Sector (Vacoms).

On Vacoms, he said a total of 10,000 workers in the timber and furniture sector in Selangor would be vaccinated at the PPVIN, most of whom were foreigners.

“Demand is very high because at the initial stage we expected only 8,000 but demand reached 10,000 requests and this programme, we will continue until September – for first dose until mid-August – and the second dose will end on Sept 18.

“We hope with the success of the two-dose vaccination for the timber sector, the sector can quickly operate to ensure the country’s revenue continues,“ he said, adding that the plantation sector has about 80,000 foreign workers.

Mohd Khairuddin said for firms under the agri-commodity sector, applications to participate in Vacoms can be made through MPIC if the company has at least 1,000 employees or merges with other companies to cover the number.

For the programme, he said MTC had provided a subsidy of RM30 for each worker and industry staff involved.

“We are giving Sinovac free from the government, only the company has to pay the management cost which is around RM70. We hope this programme will be followed in other timber-based places such as in Muar, Johor and this is our start towards successful vaccination programmes together with industry people,“ he said. – Bernama

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