PETALING JAYA, Aug 7 ― Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has joined her PKR colleague Rafizi Ramli in cautioning the government against kick-starting a third national automotive project.
In a press statement today, Nurul Izzah said that Putrajaya needs to go back to the drawing board and fine-tune the idea before making any concrete decisions to ensure that the National Automotive Policy will be transparent and inclusive.
“The Malaysian government must go back to the drawing board and analyse the national car idea properly.
“We need to place the needs of the public first before focusing on any vision while strengthening the nation’s fiscal position to ensure stability and sustainable long term economic development,” she said.
“Malaysia must also quickly make a shift from a manufacturing based economy to a knowledge economy based on product developments, engineering, technology and intellectual property.”
She also pointed out that in 2016 Proton had only managed to sell 72,291 units and in 2017 the sales went down to 70,991, despite acknowledging that 2017 also saw Perodua and Proton raking in 48 per cent of total car sales.
Nurul Izzah posed a question on whether or not this signals a healthy market or the high sales were due to market control that takes other forms besides excise duty.
The PKR lawmaker also pointed out China-based Geely’s 49 per cent stake in Proton is a reflection that Malaysia’s first car manufacturer is seen as a valuable asset by foreign parties to assist them in penetrating the South-east Asian region.
She argued that despite the Chinese-ownership, Proton’s presence in the nation is a boon to local human capital and car parts suppliers.
“Isn’t ensuring that our engineers and designers can benefit from Proton despite its foreign ownership an important part of the national automotive policy?
“What about Perodua? Sales report show that Perodua has exceeded 40 per cent of the market share on a monthly basis. What is the impact of Perodua’s success on human capital development and Malaysian intellectual properties involved with the company?
“Isn’t Perodua’s cooperation with global automotive giant Toyota enough to achieve the original goal of the national automotive project? Maybe it’s time for Perodua to be independent and try to develop a modern vehicle capable of competing without foreign business partners?” she asked.
Nurul Izzah also suggested that Malaysian employees serving Proton and Perodua to unite and form a local automotive union or organisation.