Ong: Embrace new tech in automotive engineering

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Malaysia needs to embrace and adapt to new technologies in the automotive engineering industry, said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming (picture).

Echoing Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s aspiration, Ong said the third national car will enable Malaysians to understand automotive engineering technology.

“This is part and parcel of what the PM is trying to push forward in the entire automotive sector, and it does not only cover the third national car,” he told reporters after launching the Automechanika Kuala Lumpur 2019 yesterday.

Last Sunday, Bernama reported Dr Mahathir as saying he was of the opinion that Malaysians lacked knowledge on the automotive engineering industry.

“People think our cars are bad. They say ‘don’t buy Malaysian cars, instead buy foreign cars’. You see, they (Malaysians) think they know everything already, including the technology involved here. That is why they don’t want the third car and say it is a waste of money.

“They know nothing (about) automotive engineering. That is why we (the government) plan to introduce the third national car to learn the technology involved. You see how much progress China has made in a short while because they have decided to go into the automotive business,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying.

Ong further said the larger national automotive landscape involves many different areas of engineering and support services that need to be upgraded and enhanced.

“When you talk about the new (third) national car, there’s more focus perhaps on the manufacturing side. But here, we have the supply side, after-services side, (as well as) parts and components side.

“This is similar to what the PM said the other day, because there are always new technologies coming into the automotive sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the revised National Automotive Policy (NAP), Ong said it is expected to be revealed later this year.

“We have a couple of stakeholder engagements. It’s still being refined. I know there’s a lot of excitement, but you have to be patient,” he said.

Last November, Ong said the government is expected to announce the revised NAP in the first quarter of 2019, which will include the development of the third national car project.

In January this year, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said the revised NAP will cover the entire automotive ecosystem, including new elements of technology.

Among others, the new elements are next-generation vehicles, mobility as a service, Industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence.

The 11th edition of the Automechanika Kuala Lumpur 2019 is expected to attract up to 8,000 visitors in its three-day event.

Among the events happening at the trade fair are a new fleet management conference, a two-day collision repair training workshop and exhibitions on various auto-motive products.