Green light for some sectors

PETALING JAYA: The Federal Government will allow some industries to operate during the extended movement control order (MCO), but the health and safety of the workers remain a top priority, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (pic). He said these industries, which include non-essential and professional services, must apply online from 9am on Monday (April 13) on the International Trade and Industry Ministry’s (Miti) website for permission to operate during the MCO period.

The MCO was extended yesterday for the second time to April 28, as announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, which has severely impacted economic activities.

The list from Miti includes industries such as automotive, machinery and equipment, aerospace, construction projects, social health services including traditional and complementary medicine practitioners, hardware and electrical shops, opticians as well as full-service laundrettes and hair salons/barber shops (haircuts only).

Azmin, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, warned that permission given to these industries will be revoked immediately if the business did not comply with the stated standard operating procedures.

“The decision was made after we realised the need to open up more economic sectors as the Covid-19 pandemic is not only affecting the health of the people but is also affecting the economy, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“We found that the level of compliance from the government’s decision to allow several critical manufacturing and services sectors to operate during the first phase of the MCO had been good.

“Nevertheless, the government continues to monitor the compliance of the conditions as stipulated by the Health Ministry and also to ensure that health screening and preventive measures are implemented for the safety of employees and customers.

“This step is necessary to ensure the sustainability of the country’s economy post-Covid-19, to prevent the loss of jobs among Malaysians and to ensure that the rakyat continue to have access to basic needs and critical products throughout the MCO period, ” he said.Azmin is also co-chair of a Special Cabinet Committee to Mitigate the Impact of Covid-19 on the Economy and Labour Market, which later made proposals to the Cabinet.

He said among the considerations the Cabinet took into account before deciding on which industries could operate were the stability of export activities, survival of SMEs, and the size of the workforce.

Muhyiddin stressed that the decision was not a case of easing the MCO, but one where the approved businesses must follow strict procedures.

“I must emphasise that while we allow some sectors to re-open, this does not mean that we are relaxing the MCO. The order is still being enforced and orders issued by authorities must be followed, ” he said.On another matter, he said there was a possibility that schools would remain closed for a while until the authorities were convinced that the Covid-19 situation was completely under control.

The Education Ministry has been asked to implement home-based learning initiatives to be implemented during the MCO period and possibly until school re-opens, the Prime Minister added.

“I have read comments from parents on Facebook and many want the school closure to be extended. Parents are worried about their children’s safety.

“I, too, have school-going grandchildren and like you, I worry for them. Who doesn’t love their children, more so grandchildren?” he said.

Muhyiddin has also directed the authorities to enhance surveillance and checks along the country’s borders to prevent illegal entries.

“Along our borders there are many illegal routes that can be used to enter the country.

“If we don’t beef up the control and surveillance along our borders, illegal immigrants can bring Covid-19 into the country.

“That is why I have ordered the authorities to ensure there are stricter border controls, ” he added.

Muhyiddin also expressed his gratitude to all frontliners, including medical workers, police, army, enforcement personnel and delivery personnel, on duty during the MCO period, describing them as “great people”.

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