by DASHVEENJIT KAUR / pic by TMR FILE
MALAYSIA’S first electric-vehicle (EV) smart manufacturing plant is set to be built on a 400-acre (161.87ha) site at the Enstek Industrial Park in Negri Sembilan, with an investment of RM5 billion.
Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) chairman Tan Sri Dr Kamal Salih (picture) said the Prime Minister’s Office has approved the proposal to develop the plant, and that a strategic technology partner has been identified.
“It would be a local investor, partnering Elenvi Otomotif Sdn Bhd,” he told reporters after the launch of MIER’s new Genuine Prosperity Indicator and Cost of Living Indication recently.
Kamal added that the local investor has been engaged, while Elenvi will be the special-purpose vehicle company.
“The vehicle will be designed and manufactured for both the local and export markets,” he said, adding that Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will launch the first electric car showcase in October.
Kamal also said the electric car project is not part of the third national car project.
“MIER has been tasked by Elenvi and the investor to conduct a feasibility study and business, investment and financial plan which will be presented to the PM for his consideration.
“This is a private sector investment and it will be up to him (PM) to decide if it should be our third national car,” he added.
Kamal said the manufacturing plant will be Industry 4.0 compliant, with maximum utilisation of robotics and artificial intelligence from the design stage to sales and marketing.
“The facility will be powered by solar with modules mounted on its eight million sq ft rooftops,” he added.
Earlier, MIER had signed several memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with 20 strategic partners, witnessed by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
The MoUs highlight seven technologies, including electric car, solid state hydrogen, 5G and biojet fuel from palm oil, among others. They also contain a proposed strategic cooperation with Ankar Corp Sdn Bhd as the sole representative of investors and funders from overseas to fund government-approved projects, as well as for the restructuring of government debts and financial obligations in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Kamal announced that MIER had revised upward its 2019 GDP forecast for Malaysia to 4.6% from 4.5%, following changes in its forecast model.
“Despite the revision, we are not optimistic due to global headwinds and weak sentiments. It’s not a good time to say that everything is getting better,” he added.
The MIER’s Business Condition Index slipped slightly to 94.2 points in the second quarter of 2019 (2Q19), from 94.3 points in the previous quarter, while business confidence remained flat during the quarter.
On the other hand, the Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 93 points in 2Q19 from 85.6 points in 1Q19.
The institute reckoned that the coming months will see household demand proceeding cautiously, particularly for interest in sensitive and big ticket items, such as houses and cars.