Malaysia’s automotive industry has effectively been shut down for two weeks after the government implemented its latest Movement Control Order (MCO) to help control a recent surge in COVID-19 infections.

The Malaysian government allows only essential businesses such as supermarkets, pharmacies and medical practices, to operate in the first phase of the lockdown, between 1 and 14 June, with the potential for restrictions to be extended by a further week.

Under the current lockdown regulations, only two people from each household are allowed to go out to procure food, medical products and services, with travel limited to a 10km radius.

The automotive industry has not been added to the list of essential services, meaning that manufacturers can only operate with 10% of normal staffing levels during the two-week period. This effectively means the entire auto industry, including most parts suppliers, has effectively shut shop for two weeks.

Honda Motor confirmed earlier this week it has suspended production at its car plant in Malacca State and its motorcycle plant in Penang State for two weeks until June 15, while Toyota also has closed its two vehicle plants in Selangor state for the duration.

The Proton Vendors Association said the current MCO will have a severe impact on component suppliers in the country, which are still recovering from previous lockdowns and the impact of the pandemic on demand.

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A Proton official confirmed that vehicle distribution and sales operations have also been suspended, but that limited after-sales servicesare able to continue. The company pointed out “unlike under last year’s MCO, service centres are allowed to operate so Proton will be accepting cars from customers who have pre-booked an appointment”.