KUALA LUMPUR: The federal territories ministry has announced that residents in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan are allowed to conduct their business anywhere within the three federal territories for the next five months.

Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa said they will be allowed to sell anything, adding, however, that this temporary policy is only made available to Malaysians.

He said the decision was made following a meeting with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Putrajaya Corporation and Labuan Corporation, in order to make it easier for people to earn a living throughout the lockdown period.

“From Nov 15 until April 15, just before Ramadan, I declare all federal territories as ‘free trade areas’. Everyone can do business, as long as they follow the written guidelines that will be released by all three federal territory authorities,” he said today.

Annuar added that traders must firstly contact their relevant local authorities and provide information on their plans of what and where they would be conducting business.

“This was so authorities could conduct checks and ensure the businesses were not obstructing traffic,” he said.

He also said traders must apply for a temporary static hawker licence, which would be automatically approved throughout the six-month period.

“We still need to give them licences because we want to keep a record of all the traders. We need their data for the long term. This is on the condition that their business does not result in any complaints from the public, do not block people’s housing areas, occupy parking lots without permission or cause litter.”

He urged all traders and resident representative councils to give their cooperation to ensure the programme was implemented smoothly.

Annuar was speaking at an event along Taman Desa where he presented Nurajahan Mariamah Abdullah, better known as Mary, a hawker’s licence and a stall for her to sell nasi lemak, after an FMT article highlighted her struggle to support her family during the pandemic.

Commenting on the annual budget allocation for the ministry, Annuar said there were plans to focus on improving the sewage system and water quality in Kuala Lumpur.

He also said the ministry would focus on the River of Life project, which would cost around RM400,000 to implement, and developing new residential areas in “strategic locations”.

With regard to criticism on the RM85.5 billion allocated to the communications and multimedia ministry’s Special Affairs Department (JASA), Annuar said the department should not be “overly politicised” as the budget allocation was still under the initial stages of debate.

“The current government has revived JASA, but in a different form. We are just using the old name but it does not serve the same purpose as it did before.”

He added that all MPs were welcome to voice their concerns about the allocation for JASA in the next two weeks in Parliament.

Following the announcements on the budget last Friday, several parties had questioned the huge allocation for JASA at a time when the country is in the middle of a Covid-19 crisis and facing economic problems.

The department had in the past been criticised for being the propaganda arm of Umno as well as being misused to indoctrinate civil servants on Ketuanan Melayu (Malay superiority).