A coffee shop operator has raised concerns over a perceived "miscommunication" between two ministries which led to an RM10,000 fine for premises operating allegedly without a valid permit during the ongoing total lockdown beginning June 1.
According to the chain coffee shop retail outlet owner, who only wished to be known as Jo, an enforcement team from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) had at 10.03am on June 14 visited his shop in Petaling Jaya and issued the fine under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
"We want to highlight this issue because it is not only about us.
"We understand that several other shops along our row were also fined under exactly the same circumstance," he told Malaysiakini.
Businesses under the food and beverage sector are classified as essential services allowed to operate throughout the various stages of the movement control order (MCO) since last year, with permission from the International Trade and Industries Ministry (Miti).
Prior to June 1, Jo said his business had applied for and obtained permission to operate through Miti's Covid-19 intelligent management system (CIMS 3.0).
As such, he said they had proceeded to download a new approval letter from CIMS 3.0 for operations beyond June 1, as stated in a May 31 Miti press statement that only requires a new registration application from businesses that do not have existing permission.
"The enforcement team from KPDNHEP that came to my shop, however, insisted that all businesses must re-register for permission to operate from June 1.
"So many businesses are not aware of this requirement to re-register from June 1. Everyone is just following MiTi's press statement," he said.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had announced the current phase of MCO 3.0 on May 29, followed by confusion over conflicting procedures surrounding permission granted for businesses under 17 approved sectors.
It was initially announced that all businesses, including those with existing permission issued under CIMS 3.0, should submit fresh applications to respective ministries in charge of their operations.
For Jo's case, Malaysiakini sighted a copy of the permission letter issued to the coffee shop under CIMS 3.0 which listed KPDNHEP as the approving ministry or agency.
Malaysiakini also sighted a letter from the coffee shop owner to Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, appealing against the RM10,000 fine.
When contacted, a Miti spokesperson confirmed it had on May 31 stated that businesses under the approved sectors with prior registration under CIMS 3.0 could proceed to download their permission letter without having to re-register its operations.
Further, the ministry issued a second statement on June 12 which stated that all permission letters issued via CIMS 3.0 for operations from June 1 remained valid throughout the extended MCO 3.0 until June 28.
Meanwhile, a KPDNHEP spokesperson said the ministry's legal department is looking into the coffee shop owner's case, based on a recent viral tweet that was also shared by several local celebrities.
"The case is already with our legal department. Let them complete their investigation," the spokesperson told Malaysiakini.