APART from businesses coming under a new extended list of sectors given permission by the government today to operate under the Movement Control Order (MCO), Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong must have also heaved a sigh of relief.

While in the first two weeks of the MCO, only essential services such as those concerning health and the food industry were allowed to continue operations under specific guidelines, a further nine sectors will have restrictions relaxed.

Companies that fall under these sectors can submit online applications for permission from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) from 9am this Monday and are to adhere to standard operating procedures (SOP) and safety guidelines set by the government upon receiving permission.

To Wee’s relief will be that electrical and electronic wholesalers and retailers are among those nine sectors which will be able to apply for permission to operate on Monday.

This effectively voids an approval letter issued by Wee’s senior private secretary Wong Lih Yen to an electronics retail chain to operate online services on April 4, a letter which has raised quite a few eyebrows and shifted the ire of netizens towards the MCA president, who had yet to respond to the issue.

Heated debates followed the leaking of a copy of that letter, as netizens questioned the jurisdiction of the Transport Ministry to issue and approval to an electronics firm and the fact that the letter was issued by a private secretary, not even the minister.

However, it seems that should no longer be an issue as the company involved needs to merely seek permission from MITI on Monday, while Wee will most likely remain unanswerable.

The Transport Ministry letterhead with the approval to the electrical firm issued by the minister’s private secretary.

The relaxed restrictions issued by MITI also includes the sectors of:

  1. Automotive – limited to export of CBU units, parts and components and after sales service.
  2. Machinery and equipment
  3. Aerospace
  4. Construction (broken into 11 specific areas – see attached statement below)
  5. Scientific, professional and technical services, including research and development.
  6. Social health services including registered traditional medical services.
  7. Hardware stores, electrical and electronic stores and eyewear stores, limited to wholesale and retail.
  8. Barber shops (only for haircuts)
  9. Laundry (only full service and not self-service)

Below is the related MITI statement