After Selangor allowed car workshops and spare parts shops in the state to open from 9am to 4pm daily for emergency purposes, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has come out to say that the decision to allow businesses to open or close during the movement control order (MCO) period lies with the National Security Council (NSC).

He said this yesterday in response to the Selangor government’s decision, reported by Malaysiakini. “These are not ordinary times. In ordinary times, the local council can use its powers to allow or not to allow an industry or business premises to open, including workshops,” Ismail said.

“But these are not ordinary times. In these times, the NSC issues orders or standard operating procedures (SOPs). I have said many times, the decision involving states and districts must be streamlined with the federal government. All decisions made must be based on the NSC’s decision. I hope these matters can be streamlined so that assistance from the health ministry, the police and army can also be streamlined to help them,” he added.

“I hope what was mentioned won’t happen again,” said the Bera MP, who is also defence minister.

On Sunday, the Selangor exco member in charge of local government, public transportation and new village development, Ng Sze Han said that workshops in the state can open to assist during vehicular emergencies.

“This permission is given for emergency cases, particularly to those required to work during this period. But all individuals, no matter what the circumstances, must abide by the one metre social distancing rule,” said Ng.

While warning the states that MCO decisions are solely the NSC’s to make, Ismail Sabri did not explicitly say if the Selangor state government’s move was now overturned. The NSC is an agency under the PM’s department responsible for managing and co-ordinating the implementation of policies related to the security of the country. On it are the PM, related ministers and the heads of the army and police force.

In the current phase two of the MCO – which will go on until April 14 at least – supermarkets, grocers, restaurants providing takeaways and petrol stations are all limited to 8am-8pm operating hours, and the same goes for food delivery services. Public transport operation hours are now from 6am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm daily, while taxis and ride-hailing vehicles will be permitted to operate from 6am to 10pm.

Please continue to stay at home unless it’s heading out for essentials, and if you do drive out, keep travel distances short and be mindful of the 10 km limit. Also, remember to bring your utility bills as proof of residence and adhere to the one-person-per-car rule. Joyriders will be caught.