KUALA LUMPUR: The prototype of Malaysia’s third national car is ready but it will not be unveiled yet, said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday (Feb 21),
Speaking to reporters after launching the National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2020, Dr Mahathir said the prototype has already been produced, but it will not be exhibited to the public.
The government, he added, was seeking private investors for the project.
“We are waiting for investors because this time around, the government does not intend to invest.
“We are inviting investors with foresight as to the future of our motor vehicles and we are ready with new technology which will make the new national car competitive,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by the Star.
Since returning to power following Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the May 2018 polls, Dr Mahathir has openly toyed with the idea of a third national car, touting it as a means to boost Malaysia’s manufacturing sector.
During his first tenure as premier, Dr Mahathir had founded Proton, the country’s first national car, in 1983 as a catalyst of industralisation.
In 2017, Proton’s parent company DRB-HICOM sold a 49.9 per cent stake to Zhejiang Geely Automobile Holdings in a move heavily critised by Dr Mahathir, who lamented then on his blog that “my child is lost".
Malaysia’s second national car is Perodua, which was established in 1992. The country also has a national motorcycle company Modenas.
"CONSCIOUS DECISION" TO DEVELOP NEW NATIONAL CAR
Earlier in his speech, Dr Mahathir said the government has made a “conscious decision” under NAP 2020 to implement a new Malaysian vehicle project.
This will be done by building on the country’s efforts in developing the two national cars and one national motorcycle, he said.
The new vehicle, Dr Mahathir added, will emphasise on research and development, and the incorporation of the latest technologies for it to be competitive domestically and globally.
“New technology clusters as well as new expert workforce, especially in the field of automotive engineering would be developed consequently,” he said.
The new vehicle is expected to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development, Dr Mahathir said.
It will create demand for other related materials, such as high-grade steel, plastics, rubber and petrochemical products, which will stimulate the further growth of these sub-sectors, he elaborated.
The prime minister told reporters that the country is open to collaborating with foreign companies to develop new national cars, according to MalayMail.
“Now, advances are not only made in Japan but other countries as well including China, Korea and European countries.
“We will collaborate with countries that have unique technology,” he was quoted as saying.