KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has carried out planned and organised steps especially in facilitating the phased and safe reopening of economic sectors in order to reduce the unemployment rate.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who is also MITI minister, said the reopening of the manufacturing sector, which hinges on strict compliance with the standard operating procedure as well as worker vaccination rate, was driven by the need for the national economy to remain competitive by ensuring that the supply chain is not disrupted and investments are not affected.

Mukhriz wanted to know the rationale for allowing more factories to operate amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

He further said the sector contributed RM386.29 billion or about 40 per cent of the total export value of goods up to June 2021 in addition to providing more than 400,000 jobs.

"At least 20,000 small and medium enterprise-status companies are involved in the supply chain to the manufacturers. These facts demonstrate the importance of operational continuity for this sector to ensure the country's economic sustainability especially in the manufacturing sector," said Azmin.

"Therefore, I am of the view that a targeted lockdown approach is more effective than taking the easy way out by closing all factories even when there is no surge in cases, which can hurt the livelihoods of many Malaysians," he added.