Easing MCO for some sectors hits roadblocks

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government’s plan to ease the economy out of the Movement Control Order (MCO) has had the unintentional consequence of traffic jams and a breakdown of physical distancing at some workplaces.

Even workers, who were called back to work from yesterday, complained on social media of being told to turn back at the many enforcement roadblocks set by the police.

After four weeks of shutdown for most businesses, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) announced the easing of restrictions on several sectors, allowing them to operate during the MCO from yesterday.

These include the automotive industry, machinery and equipment, aerospace, construction, science and medical-related companies, hardware stores and laundry. It even allowed barbers and opticians to reopen, but that permission has since been rescinded.

However, when businesses tried to register their companies for approval to operate, MITI’s Covid-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS) 2.0 website — that was supposed to handle the applications — broke down because it could not cope with the sheer number of applications.

Factories also saw workers reporting for duty, but were held up in close proximity because of health checks at the gates.

The American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) even wrote a letter to MITI to complain about the process, saying that not a single one of its members received approvals to reopen.

“Unfortunately, this system is currently not working as it should as not one company we know of has received an approval letter.

“This is despite assurances that the approval process would be quick, particularly due to the early and prior submission of our member companies and their suppliers,” it wrote in an email sighted by The Malaysian Reserve.

The group said it had prepared a list of member companies before CIMS 2.0 went live on Monday, but because the portal went down, MITI issued an announcement that companies that were already approved under an older system were allowed to operate under the third phase of the MCO.

“Today, April 15, employees on their way to work are being harassed by PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police) despite showing the requisite paperwork, ie company’s approval letter and the MITI press release,” it said.

The group also said employees were given conflicting requirements to get through the roadblocks, including permission letters with QR codes.

“They were warned that if they return to the company premises tomorrow with the old approval letter, ‘they will be imprisoned’,” it said.

AMCHAM said more coordination is needed between the government and the police to facilitate smooth movement of employees.

CIMS 2.0 was supposed to be a one-stop solution for registering businesses that are allowed to operate under MCO Phase 3.

Approved applicants were supposed to receive a QR code to allow ease of movement beginning yesterday. It was also to allow police to easily verify who is allowed to be on the roads during the MCO.

The CIMS website is reportedly back online, but complaints keep coming, including on the ministry’s Facebook page. A few users complained about login issues and lost emails.

MITI said people who have login problems can email them at [email protected]