The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) says it supports the move for the automotive sector in the country to resume operations quickly during the second movement control order (MCO). This was crucial given the industry’s major contribution to the national economy, said MARii CEO Datuk Madani Sahari.

He said that the sector, which contributed RM13.1 billion through exports in 2019 and employed more than 700,000 people, had continued to perform well last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which had resulted in many production interruptions and a scaling back in manufacturing.

Despite all these challenges, exports of parts and components to regional markets had exceeded the RM10 billion mark by the end of October, and Madani said that it was important that the momentum continue, as any lengthy delay would have a significant negative impact on the industry.

At the start of the second MCO, the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) had listed automotive manufacturing as being permitted during the period. This was rescinded 24 hours later, and so all assembly plants and component manufacturing facilities are now not allowed to be operational during the MCO. Auto showrooms, service centres and workshops are however permitted to operate as usual.

Madani said that the automotive manufacturing industry has been adhering to strict standard operating procedures (SOP) in accordance with recommendations of the health ministry and national security council (NSC). Its players, from OEMs right through to component manufacturers, practice a strong level of automation and lean production practices, allowing them to better adhere to all SOPs outlined.

He said that MARii will continue to assist in mediating any discussions and solutions between authorities and the industry, as well as assist in deploying solutions to help the industry in the fight against Covid-19. He added that since the start of the pandemic, the institute has been involved in several health management initiatives by the government, including the development and maintenance of a Covid-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS).

It has also developed the ImmuSafe contact tracing application, which has been designed specifically for health management within industries that are operating during the pandemic. In September last year, the institute also announced the availability of its ImmuSafe multi-antigen Covid-19 test kit, which was developed together with Sengenics.