As we ease into the third phase of the movement control order (MCO), the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) has announced that the restriction on selected industries and services will be lifted, but applicants would have to submit their registrations online.

However, entrepreneur development and cooperatives minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has clarified that this is only limited to “green zones” within the country, and not for the whole Malaysia. This follows a special Cabinet meeting held two weeks ago, which was tasked with studying the possibility of allowing certain businesses to start operating again, the Malay Mail reported.

UPDATE: (April 13, 2.15pm) Prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has made the decision that barber shops/hair (and beauty) salons as well as optometry shops will not be allowed to operate during the MCO.

“The committee came up with the report and identified certain businesses, and later after several discussions, it was agreed only to operationalise certain businesses and services in the ‘Covid-19 green areas’ of the country. It’s not true that the opening of such businesses and services is meant for the whole country,” he told local daily The Borneo Post.

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According to the health ministry, only 29 districts in the country remain as green zones (areas with no Covid-19 cases), three of which are in Peninsular Malaysia. Wan Junaidi added that the special Cabinet committee was also concerned about the economic ramifications caused by a prolonged MCO, noting that several businesses may not survive in the next few weeks.

Furthermore, he said studies done by the government, banks and institutes have shown that there will be an unprecedented level of unemployment and business collapsing in the short term if businesses do not operate. For the automotive industry, MITI has given the green light for the export of CBU vehicles, tools and components as well as after-sales service, such as workshops and service centres to operate.

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.

A standard operating procedure will be introduced by the government for these businesses, with strict supervision by the police and army. Wan Junaidi said no breaches of SOPs or protocols will be allowed.

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