Automotive manufacturing and production back on govt’s ‘essential’ list under MCO 2.0

Shahrin Aizat Noorshahrizam
·2-min read
Employees work at an assembly line in the Proton manufacturing plant in Tanjung Malim December 16, 2019. — Reuters pic
Employees work at an assembly line in the Proton manufacturing plant in Tanjung Malim December 16, 2019. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 ― Car makers can resume production again as automotive manufacturing has been added to an updated list deemed “essential services” by the Muhyiddin government.

Automotive (vehicles and components) is back under the Manufacturing and Production component of Regulation 3 of the essential services schedule in today’s gazette of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within Infected Local Areas)(Movement Control)(Amendment) Regulations 2021.

It is listed as Item 2, right below Aerospace (component and maintenance, repair and overhaul.

Automotive (maintenance and repair) remains under the Services category, which enables mechanics to work uninterrupted.

Auto assembly was initially included in the list of essential industries, until officials pulled the exemption at the last minute on January 12 evening. Auto production was suspended as well during the first lockdown implemented in March 2020.

This led two Japanese automotive giants Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor to stop its Malaysian operations.

According to Japanese news site Nikkei Asia, Toyota shut down its two factories in Malaysia two days while Honda also stopped its two production plants last Wednesday.

A Toyota representative was cited saying a decision on reopening will be made later, while Honda said its plans are to suspend production until the current movement control order (MCO) is lifted, currently set for January 26.

Perodua, the national automaker backed by Japanese car company Daihatsu Motor, also discontinued production on January 14.

Malaysia is the third largest auto producer in South-east Asia, behind Thailand and Indonesia. Output during the January-November period of last year fell 19 per cent to roughly 430,000 vehicles.

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