A month and a half into the start of the nationwide lockdown that began on June 1, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) is appealing to the government to allow automotive sector activities to resume in states currently under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) as well as those under phase one and two of the national recovery plan (NPR).

It said that with the Malaysian automotive industry heavily dependent on the domestic market, the continued halting of production and distribution of automotive products (planned to resume in phase two of the NRP) as well as sales of vehicles will have far reaching implications to the entire automotive ecosystem nationwide.

According to MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad, the whole supply chain in the automotive sector has been seriously affected, particularly by the complete shutdown of operations in EMCO states/localities like Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. “Feedback received from many of our members indicated that business operations even in non-EMCO states are hampered due to disruptions in the supply chain,” she said via a press statement.

The association said that the consequences arising from stoppages of automotive factories, workshops and parts distribution centres in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur is indeed very serious. It said that the longer these stop operating, the greater the damage that would be inflicted on the automotive industry and the country.

It said that while automotive companies may suffer from loss of revenue, profitability, export markets and closure of businesses, the government will also lose in terms of lower revenue collected from excise duties, import duties, sales taxes and road taxes for motor vehicles.

It added that Selangor and Kuala Lumpur accounts for close to 50% of Malaysia’s total industry volume (TIV) per annum, and that many of the key automotive companies for both production of vehicles and components are located within these two states. In addition, some MAA members also have their sole and or central distribution centre (for vehicles and spare parts) located within Selangor and KL.

As such, the association is appealing to the government to allow automotive sector activities – such as workshops and distribution centres for passenger/commercial vehicles as well as spare parts businesses – to operate with immediate effect, albeit at certain capacity and with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place, in states under EMCO and phase one and two of the national recovery plan (NRP).

In particular, it said that the reopening of automotive workshops and part centres in EMCO states was something that needed to be addressed quickly, as their continued closure would not only cause inconvenience to all consumers at large, but may also endanger those who continue to use defective vehicles on the road, with the inability to repair or replace faulty parts in such vehicles posing a serious risk to all road users.

Additionally, in order to reduce congestion at ports, MAA is requesting that the government allow a window of two to three days per week for receiving and storing cargo for the automotive sector, similar to what was practised during the first movement control order (MCO) last year.