KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Shadow Finance Minister Khairy Jamaluddin expressed shock today that Putrajaya is serious about pursuing flying car technology, after he found the project listed among key points of the National Automotive Policy (NAP) review.
Khairy earlier this evening tweeted a photo he took of the NAP report, which named “flying vehicle” as a key focus area for technological development.
It was one of five primary tech thrusts that the government will set standards for, the report indicated.
“Seriously, YB @imokman?” Khairy, MP for Rembau, quipped in a tweet addressed to Deputy International Trade Minister, Ong Kian Ming.
The NAP review was prepared by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) and was made available to MPs in parliament today.
Malaysians were bemused by the flying car project when it came to light last month, after Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof revealed Malaysia was in the cusp of developing its first air vehicle.
He said the car will be built using “local technology” and the prototype would be unveiled this year.
The vehicle’s main target market is transport services or related companies, not for the general use, he said.
On Twitter, users responded to Khairy’s tweet with the same cynicism that greeted the first news about the idea.
Many posted jeering memes and gifs with satirical reference to sci-fi movies or cartoons that had flying cars.
Others said they were just as baffled as Khairy, asking if Putrajaya was actually serious about pouring money into a far-fetched ambition.
“I thought it was a joke. But really? Flying car?” A Twitter user by the name of Morningstar wrote.
But there were also those who responded positively. Twitter user by the name Zaki Moten said the Pakatan Harapan government was only following in rich countries’ footsteps.
“I think they are just following in the footsteps of our European counterparts, YB,” he wrote, pointing out a news report about the European Union bloc’s plan to certify and regulate the technology.
Despite public scepticism, Mohd Redzuan said automotive and aerospace giants like Boeing, Airbus, Volvo, and Aston Martin have shown interest in Malaysia’s air vehicle technology.