Vegetable transporters are being turned away at police roadblocks for not having Miti approval despite them being gazetted as essential services, resulting in disruption of supply from Cameron Highlands.
Tanah Rata state assemblyperson Chiong Yoke Kong has blasted the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) for its move requiring logistics companies to apply for approval during phase three of the movement control order (MCO).
Chiong claimed the move has brought about disruptions to the essential services sectors that have just returned to their normal operations.
“I would say Miti’s directive as an attention-seeking measure has created market chaos,” said Chiong in a statement today.
“I received complaints from many vegetable transporters yesterday morning that they were stopped by police at the Kulai Toll Plaza of NSE Highway.
“The police officers said that Miti’s approval was necessary and turned away the approval letters issued by Cameron Highlands’ district police chief and the Department of Agriculture.”
Vegetable transports were previously allowed to make deliveries so long as they had approval letters issued by the Cameron Highlands district police chief and the Agriculture Department.
Chiong said he was perplexed after receiving such complaints.
On April 10, Miti announced that any firm which wishes to be exempted during MCO’s third phase must submit an application through the Miti website. There are no other application methods.
However, by April 13, Malaysiakini reported that the website was repeatedly crashing due to heavy traffic.
“During MCO phase one and two, the government had clarified that logistics companies can deliver goods once approval letters issued by the Department of Agriculture and local district police headquarters are obtained.
“Why would another ministry intervene when we are now in the third phase of MCO?” asked Chiong.
He cited Miti’s official statement on its Facebook page yesterday stating that even though transportation of goods by land, sea and air are listed as essential services during MCO, Miti’s latest approval obtained by logistics companies will assist police to verify whether their services are categorised as essential.
“Local essential services providers have experienced a month-long ‘unrest’ and could finally return to their normal operations under strict monitoring.
“If Miti intends to allow more sectors to resume their operations gradually, coordination with various key ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer as well as Ministry of Health is necessary,” said Chiong.
He said that Miti should not ask all sectors, particularly essential services providers, to reapply in order to resume operations.
“This clearly reflected the lack of coordination between various ministries as different ministries issued their respective directives without due consideration.”
Chiong called on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to exempt companies with approval letters obtained in the previous phases of the MCO from reapplying to Miti.
“This will help reduce unnecessary measures that bring about disruptions to people’s livelihood as well as negative impact to the economy,” he said.