The Malaysian government has agreed to reopen selected economic sectors for business, which will take place under strict guidelines for health and movement with the implementation of the latest phase of the movement control order until April 28, announced by prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his special speech to the nation at 4pm today.

The prime minister said he understands that the country’s economy has been affected by restrictions applied to entrepreneurial and manufacturing activities during the enforcement of the MCO, and added that a special cabinet committee will be formed to study the list of economic sectors that will be selected to reopen for business in stages.

The reopening of selected economic sectors does not mean that the conditions of the MCO is being slackened, the prime minister stressed, reiterating that the order remains in force and all directives issued by the authorities must be obeyed, and breaches will result in the revocation of approvals.

Following the announcement of the MCO extension, the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) has issued a statement, in which it lists industries and activities permitted for the latest phase. For the automotive industry, activities are limited to the export of CBU vehicles, tools and components as well as after-sales service, such as workshops and service centres.

Other industries listed include heavy machinery, aerospace, construction and construction-related industries, scientific, professional and technical services including research and development (limited to legal representation services, oil and gas services, Covid-19-related R&D activities and laboratories and test facilities (for permitted sectors only), social health services including registered traditional and complementary medicine practitioners.

Permission has been given for the additional sectors to operate based on their importance in the global value chain and the country’s exports, to ensure the stability of export activities; the activity of economic sectors with high value-added multipliers; their impact on the sustainability of SMEs in the economic sector, particularly in manufacturing and services; and the size of workforce involved.

For the end consumer, also on the ‘permitted’ list are hardware stores, electric and electronic good stores and optometrists, for wholesale and retail activities only. Laundry services are listed too (full service only; not self-service), and basic hairdressing services for cuts only – we will all need a haircut soon, don’t we?

This doesn’t mean that activation is automatic – companies in the sectors listed above will have to apply for clearance. They can submit their application for authorisation beginning Monday, April 13, 2020 from 9am. All applications must be made online through MITI’s website, and only applications which are complete and fulfil the conditions will be processed, the ministry said.

Sectors to be considered for approval to operate:

Automotive industry

  • Export of CBU vehicles
  • Components
  • Aftersales services e.g. maintenance
  • Heavy machinery

    Aerospace

    Construction projects

  • (i) Projects where main contractors are G1-G2 contractors
  • (ii) Projects at completion of 90% or higher
  • (iii) Tunneling works
  • (iv) Maintenance works
  • (v) Slope maintenance
  • (vi) Emergency works as stipulated in contractual agreements
  • (vii) Works to maintain, clean and removal of stagnant water, pesticide spraying at work sites to combat breeding of Aedes mosquitoes and other parasites
  • (viii) Other works which, if incomplete, will pose danger
  • (ix) Construction projects with IBS scores of 70 and above
  • (x) Construction projects with centralised workers’ quarters or workers’ camps
  • Scientific, professional and technical services, including research and development

  • Limited to legal representation services, oil and gas services, Covid-19-related R&D activities and test facilities for permitted sectors only
  • Social health services including registered traditional and complementary medicine practitioners

    Hardware stores, electric and electronic good stores and optometrists, for wholesale and retail activities only

    Basic hairdressing services (haircuts only)

    Full-service laundry (self-service laundry not allowed)

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