The increasing number of new daily Covid-19 infections, which has gone well past the 6,000 plus mark this week, has sparked fears of a possible return to the first movement control order (MCO) in a bid to arrest the situation. However, various industries and trade associations have pleaded with the government not to resort to a full MCO as it will hurt the economy and affect people’s livelihoods, The Sun reports.

One of the industries that has urged the government to not implement a full MCO is the Malaysian Automotive Component Parts Manufacturers (MACPMA). It said via a statement that a total lockdown will severely impact the industry, which already has to contend with rising production cost from increasing raw material and shipping costs as well as a reduction in output, a shortage of skilled labour and margin squeeze.

The association said that the industry saw a RM1.15 billion loss in export sales during the first MCO, and that many of its members – of which around 30% are exporters – would not be able to afford another total lockdown, especially SMEs struggling to stay afloat and retain their employees.

It said that its members remain committed to implementing critical measures to keep employees and communities safe by adhering to the strict conditions stipulated in the standard operating procedures (SOPs), and the association hoped the government would be able to accelerate the vaccination programme for economic sectors in order to achieve herd immunity faster.

The initial MCO in March last year saw an almost complete halt to economic activity in the first phases of the order. In April, selected economic sectors were allowed to reopen, and component manufacturing was among businesses permitted to reopen in the automotive industry, albeit only in green zones. It wasn’t until May, when the conditional movement control order (CMCO) was introduced, that almost all economic sectors and business activities were allowed to resume.

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