NAP2020 to set future mobility direction for M’sia

An expert says blueprint must include measures for modernisation in order to make industry competitive across the globe

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by TMR FILE PIX

THE much anticipated National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP2020) to be unveiled today will set a future direction in the local automotive sector, especially in the next-generation vehicle (NxGV).

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad — the man behind the country’s national car project Proton (Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional) in the 1980s — is expected to witness the launch of the new automotive blueprint at the International Trade and Industry Ministry.

GlobalData plc director of automotive consulting Animesh Kumar told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that local industry players are expecting the NAP2020 to set the tone for the transformation of the industry in the coming years.

“It must include clearly defined measures for modernisation of the industry in order to make it competitive, not only in the region, but across the globe,” Animesh said.

He added that the new automotive policy is expected to create a conducive environment for mobility start-ups and small and medium enterprises to flourish in the country.

The Malaysian Automotive Association president Datuk Aishah Ahmad had said the NAP2020 is expected to provide greater depth into making the NxGV under IR4.0.

“We are looking at the NxGV, the future and how that type of vehicle should be manufactured and assembled in Malaysia. It is important that we know the direction, focus and incentives to move forward with the policy,” Aishah told TMR recently.

The new framework will be implemented in three phases until 2030, according to the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute CEO Datuk Madani Sahari, as reported by Bernama.

“Will the NAP2020 be able to stimulate local volume growth? On the export side, there could be positive progress from the previous policy, but it is mainly on component exports. This largely involves more low-skilled foreign labour than local engineers,” an industry source told TMR.

The source, who requested anonymity, said the NAP2020 should focus on initiatives to push local industry players to export vehicles as demand in the country has been flat at around 600,000 units a year.

The source said Malaysia needs high-impact projects that could galvanise local high-skilled talents into new innovation.

As such, the source viewed that domestic carmakers Proton Holdings Bhd and Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd must play a bigger role in driving the country to future mobility.

The masterplan is also anticipated to provide clarity on the “national car” term which would help original equipment manufacturers in the country plan their new car development.

Meanwhile, there are indications that showed the end-of-life vehicle (ELV) policy may not be introduced in the new automotive blueprint.

The ELV policy has long been a contentious policy which requires a strong political will to be introduced.

Industry players are also hoping for the NAP2020 to give more attention to the commercial vehicle segment which has been largely left out in the previous versions of the policies.