By P PREM KUMAR & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By TMR
The government has received 14 proposals from the private sector to develop the proposed third national car project.
Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming (picture) said the project would be fully driven by the private sector and the government would only give selected assistance based on the capabilities of the company involved.
The government would also embark on economic impact and cost-benefit studies before any final decision is made on the third national car project, Ong told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
“The suggestion to conduct an economic impact and cost-benefit study for the project is acceptable and fair, but we need to get a clear direction first as we have yet to study the proposals given by the private companies and individuals on the project.
“The International Trade and Industry Ministry received 14 proposals from the private sector and individuals, and in order to carry out the economic impact report, we have to get clarity first on the National Automotive Policy (NAP),” he said in response to a supplementary question from Wong Chen (Pakatan Harapan-Subang).
Ong added that the third national car project would further spur the country’s capabilities in research and development, as well as new technologies within the automotive sector.
He said it would also create a cluster of new technologies and expertise, especially in automotive engineering.
“We welcome those who are interested to come forward to submit their proposals involving the third national car project by Oct 15.
To the initial question from Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak), Ong said the government is in the middle of reviewing the NAP.
“The last time the policy was reviewed was in 2014, and after four years, we are reviewing it again.
“The review will be a holistic process, not only involving the third national car project but the industry as a whole,” he said.
On June 11, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad surprised Malaysians by announcing that the government plans to work on a new national car.
However, many Malaysians did not respond positively to the suggestion. Some asked that the public transport system be improved instead, while others pointed out that the Proton experience should be a reminder.
On July 16, Dr Mahathir sarcastically countered naysayers by writing on his blog: “Malaysians prefer to buy imported cars, including those from China. Their choice is Japanese cars and those with a lot of money (choose) German cars.”