At 9am today, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) website will begin accepting applications from businesses who wish to reopen during MCO. Last Friday, MITI Minister Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali announced a list of business sectors that are allowed to resume operations. Among the sectors are automotive workshops and automotive manufacturing plants (exports only).
However, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob clarified yesterday that MITI’s announcement doesn’t cover the whole of Malaysia, and that the relaxed MCO is only applicable to areas that are in green zones (no Covid-19) cases.
This effectively rules out any industrial areas. As of this morning, there are only four districts in Peninsular Malaysia that are in the green zone – Yan in Kedah, Machang in Kelantan, Kampar in Perak, and Hulu Terengganu in Terengganu.
More importantly, the Ministry of Health was not in favour of relaxing the existing MCO, adding that existing measures to curb movement of individuals should be maintained.
Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said “And any exit strategy or planning for restrictions in the third phase, the ministry recommends that we continue with the measures from phase one and two.”
As for reopening of car workshops and automotive manufacturing plants, it is safe to say that this is no longer happening, especially not after Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s latest statement that only businesses located in green zones are allowed to reopen.
The uncoordinated and unclear communication by MITI was very counterproductive and it wasted the time of many car companies, who were caught unaware by Friday’s announcement, which was made late evening and many staff had worked over the weekend to come up with plans to resume operations.