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Clear NO from experts on another “conventional” national car

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the launching of the first national car Proton Saga on  July 9,1985.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the launching of the first national car Proton Saga on July 9,1985.

Ahirul Ahirudin
Written by Ahirul Ahirudin

KUALA LUMPUR – August 7, 2018: People familiar with the automotive industry are against the plan for Malaysia to give a try at having another national carmaker, not when its a conventional car that is being considered.

Rather, the opinions heavily favour something like an electric vehicle.

For auto analyst Hezeri Shamsuri, with an EV the government will have both a national car while tackling environmental issues caused by conventional engines.

Hezeri anticipates that the government will get more support if it can reveal a proper mechanism and more information on the plan.

“Why do people worry and why do people oppose the idea? It’s because the mechanism is not there yet… too many question marks.”

Yamin Vong of motorme.my agrees with Hezeri about having an EV.

“Malaysia already has two national carmakers and it is very clear that we don’t have the economies of scale like Thailand or Indonesian and that is why our prime minister is looking for partners in Indonesia.

“Looking at a bigger perspective, Tun (Dr Mahathir) wants to help Malaysia enter a high value added nation using the national car project as a platform.

“Tun is a stubborn man and if he wants to do it, he will do it. Let us hope the future of Malaysia’s new national carmaker is in a new market segment and I believe that segment is the EV market,” said Yamin.

However, the president of the Malaysian Automotive Association Datuk Aishah Ahmad completely disagree with the plan, adding that it will affect the market, investors and finally consumers.

“If the government were to build a car from scratch, it will be very costly and they will need to apply some form of market protection to survive.

“If not tax, maybe a preferential treatment will be given to this carmaker and we are against the idea. It has to be a level playing field to attract more investors to Malaysia.”

As for the EV segment, Aishah doesn’t consider this a new market because international manufacturers are already heading in that direction.

“BMW has it, Nissan has it and they’re not the only manufacturers that have EV capabilities so even if this new carmaker is to go the EV route, it will still need a protectionist policy and that will create a non-level playing field,” she commented.

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Ahirul Ahirudin

Ahirul Ahirudin