Companies express interest in R&D grants for 3rd national car project


About 10 local companies have expressed interest to apply for the RM20 million research and development (R&D) fund so far to develop a prototype of the proposed third national car project.

“There are more than 10 local companies interested to do R&D on the project. They have their own expertise,” Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof (picture) said after the launch of Fuji Xerox Smart Work Gateway for Digital Transformation in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He did not divulge if international companies were also interested to tap the fund for the R&D works.

Mohd Redzuan added that there are parties willing to spend their own money to fund the R&D for the prototype car too.

“I have received visitors who disclosed that they intend to use their own money as they want to be competitive in setting forth their capabilities,” he said.

Mohd Redzuan said the R&D fund amount used in the end for the project could be well below the total amount.

“The fund has RM20 million, but could end up using RM2 million to RM3 million only, to develop the prototype,” he said.

He added that the critics of the third national car project did not understand the implicit benefits behind the idea.

Mohd Redzuan said the fund will attract vendors to do R&D and catalyse the engineering industry as a whole.

“In car manufacturing, or car building, you have the structural part, electrical and and electronic, mechanical, software and the Internet of Things. RM20 million is not enough, but if you want to do something, you have to start somewhere,” he said.

To recap, the RM20 million R&D fund is from an existing allocation for R&D with the Entrepreneur Development Ministry and will be partly used to develop the third national car prototype.

Mohd Redzuan said some 90 companies have expressed an interest to participate in the third car project so far, after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government is prepared to provide allocations to carry out the R&D.

At the event yesterday, Mohd Redzuan called on industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to become digitalised and not merely computerised. He said SMEs must prepare for Industry Revolution 4.0 to remain competitive.

Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific Pte Ltd president for Malaysian operation, Mark Tan, said digital technology is providing opportunities to companies to enhance business processes and deliver products and services that were unthinkable just a few years ago.