Gyms cannot start running yet, says MITI

There is a misconception that some gyms have received the approval of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to resume operations.

Ministry secretary-general Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali reiterated late last night that gyms are on the National Security Council’s (NSC) prohibited list, meaning they are not allowed to operate for now as the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has been extended to June 9.

“In fact, sectors that are allowed to operate can start without getting approval as per the Conditional MCO effective May 4,” he said.

He made the clarification just hours after telling Twentytwo13 the same thing on the prohibition.

The confusion arose because certain gyms insisted they had the MITI green light and were preparing to re-open.

A gym operator based in Selangor claimed he obtained approval to operate after submitting his application on MITI’s website. He also claimed to have called MITI’s hotline and was assured that he is able to operate.

Another person claimed that a gym in Kuala Lumpur has obtained approval from MITI “to run personal training sessions” and will begin operations tomorrow.

Lokman warned that companies that start operating despite the prohibition will face action under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and other relevant laws.

“If they operate the gym, they will be asked to close.”

Lokman also said eligible companies could seek an acknowledgement from the ministry that they would abide by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of their respective sectors.

He said companies receive the acknowledgement after they submit certain information voluntarily to MITI.

“This acknowledgement letter can be displayed at their business premises to demonstrate their commitment to their customers in complying with the SOPs”.

“MITI relies on the declaration by the companies that they are within the permitted economic sectors or business activities. For the record, the list of prohibited activities is drawn up by the NSC, not MITI,” he said.

Twentytwo13 contacted NSC and was informed there has not been a revision in the prohibited list and as such gymnasiums still cannot operate throughout the CMCO.

Twentytwo13 had on May 5 highlighted that the gym business has been badly affected by the MCO.

In another article published a day earlier, veteran sports administrator Datuk Sieh Kok Chi told Twentytwo13 that private trainers are “victims” of Covid-19 and that they should find new ways to render their services.

Following Twentytwo13‘s articles, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican confirmed efforts are being made to address the plight of private trainers and gym operators.

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