Lockdown will have devastating impact on car parts manufacturers

It takes years, sometimes decades for vendors to establish their overseas market outlets

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by TMR FILE 

THE Proton Vendors Association (PVA) has asked the government not to shutter automotive parts manufacturers’ operation under a strict nationwide lockdown which will start tomorrow.

The total lockdown will force many businesses to pull the brakes on their operation for two weeks as the death toll from the Covid-19 inches closer to 100 people daily.

Alarmed by the rise of the Covid-19 cases, the government had triggered a nationwide circuit-breaker, forcing millions of people to stay home from midnight today.

But PVA is appealing to the government to allow manufacturers who supply original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) abroad be allowed to operate under strict standard operating procedures.

Its president Datuk Dr Wan Mohamad Wan Embong said while it is necessary to contain the spread of the Covid-19 infections, the magnitude and speed of collapse in the economy will be detrimental to the security and sovereignty of the country.

“It is hard to predict if a total lockdown would lead to stabilising the pandemic condition. What we do not want is a multiple crisis-from health to a financial crisis,” he said in a statement.

Wan Mohamad said there is no guarantee if the pandemic will recede after the lockdown.

He said the containment period could be longer which subsequently worsens the financial conditions of manufacturers, entrepreneurs and self-employed Malaysians.

“In view of the real negative impacts, PVA is fully supportive of Federation of Manufacturers Malaysia’s proposal and recommendations. Policymakers and the relevant authorities will need to ensure that entrepreneurs and those who are self-employed are able to meet their needs and that businesses can be rebuilt following the lifting of the lockdown,” he added.

“Under the current deeply unsettling business operation and the pandemic situation that continues to disrupt their livelihood most vendors continue to face economic obstacles in their efforts to stay afloat and sustain operations,” he said.

In the first Movement Control Order in March last year, only essential services were allowed to open, sending the economy into a freefall, contracting 17.1% while thousands lost their jobs.

Wan Mohamad also warned that local manufacturers would be severely affected under the lockdown if they were forced to shut.

“It takes years, sometimes decades for vendors to establish their overseas market outlets. And this lockdown will definitely cause major financial setbacks as the overseas OEMs would be busy producing cars to meet the spike in demand,” Wan Mohamad said.