He said there was a drastic increase in goods to be delivered to Sabah and Sarawak, starting in May which numbered 791,000, compared to 65,000 in March.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO) enforcement caused more consumers to turn to online purchasing.
“Hence, the increase in the number of parcels received by Pos Malaysia was much higher than the existing processing and delivery capacity,” he said when answering a special chamber motion in the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.
The motion was brought by Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu) who asked about the actual increase in number of parcels in Sabah and Sarawak, said to be alarming, that a notice was issued by Pos Malaysia.
Chan also wanted to know the action taken by the government to assist Pos Malaysia in increasing its processing capacity and whether more staff or delivery vehicles were mobilised.
Overall, Saifuddin said, Pos Malaysia would usually receive an average of between seven to eight million items a month, but last April, the number increased sharply to 12.7 million items, which was an 82 per cent increase from February.
Total number of items in May and June remained high at over 10.8 million per month.
“The situation put pressure on Pos Malaysia’s processing and delivery capacity. Note that Pos Malaysia’s parcel processing capacity is between 300,000 to 400,000 items a day.
“With the sharp increase in volume, Pos Malaysia had to process between 600,000 to 800,000 items a day, which is a 100 per cent increase,” he said.
Elaborating, Saifuddin said, the MCO implementation had also caused several commercial airlines to cancel flights to Sabah and Sarawak, which in turn affected delivery capacity and resulted in delayed shipment.
As such Saifuddin said, to ensure goods were delivered throughout the country, especially to Sabah and Sarawak and following shortage of commercial flights since mid-April, cargo flight services from several local and regional companies were used.
In addition, Pos Malaysia also hired over 1,300 part-time staff, to expedite processing and packing at Pos Laju centres nationwide from April 1, 2020 onwards, and of that number, 30 per cent were in Sabah and Sarawak, he said.
Saifuddin said, to date, 299 full-time Pos Riders have been appointed while 1,400 are on a part-time basis, of which 224 are in Sabah and 270 in Sarawak.
“To increase parcel delivery capacity, more delivery agents were appointed under the Pos Rider programme,” he said.
According to Saifuddin a Pos Laju Centre would open in Lok Kawi, Sabah, in mid-July to increase processing capacity and expedite delivery to areas around Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Putatan, Petagas, Kepayan, Kota Kinabalu Airport, Kinarut , Lok Kawi, army camps and nearby villages.
This centre will also be a mail, courier and parcel services hub for delivery to major cities in Sabah.