All systems go for new car, ready by 2020, says government

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 – It is all systems go for the new national car project mooted by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad just weeks after becoming the prime minister for the second time last May.

The project has received the approval of the new Pakatan Harapan government, despite the misgivings addressed by economists and also ordinary folk who voted for change on May 9.

This is based on the comments from Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, who was reported by Bernama as saying that the project is expected to roll-out it first model within the next 15 months.

“The plan is for a semi-autonomous car to enter the global market, cater to demand from young people.

“We are now short-listing two to three partners to participate in this project, including Silterra and CTRM. We expect the selection process to be concluded by year-end.

“The prototype for this car model is expected to be ready by early next year,” he was quoted as saying at a media briefing on the new national car project yesterday.

He added that the project would be fully funded by the private sector with the help of several government ministries.

Latest technology for fast turnaround

The use of the latest technology was given as the reason for the project turnaround time being shorter than many had anticipated.

“This new car will use 100% disruptive technology and not follow conventional car manufacturing methods,” he said, according to Bernama.

Also present at the briefing was Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might) President and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman.

Yusoff said this project was totally new and differentiated itself from the previous national car project by embracing Industry 4.0.

He said the role of Might was to emphasise the importance of having a new car that would help spur development.

“Besides that, Might is also mandated with the task to coordinate with various ministries, agencies and the industry, as well as the academia to make the project a success,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Dr M: National car project to boost engineering sector

Many Malaysians who had supported PH in the 14th general election, had expressed their disappointment with the plans for a new national car, pointing to Proton as an example of Mahathir’s former national car project gone bad.

However, the prime minister has insisted that the project is needed to boost the country’s aims to drive growth in the engineering sector, chiding those against the idea as wanting to make Malaysians become farmers and stay behind the rest of the world.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had also come out in support of the new national car project, saying the government would not have to bear any of the cost as it was a fully-private funded project.

– NMT