Over 20 proposals for new national car received – MITI

The news headlines may have moved on, but the new national car project (NNCP) is rolling on behind the scenes. According to the deputy minister of international trade and industry (MITI), Dr Ong Kian Ming, his ministry has received over 20 proposals for the project, which was raised by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In mid-October, Ong said that MITI had 14 proposals in hand after the government’s invitation for NNCP proposals from the private sector officially ended on October 15.

“In terms of the (new) national car, we’ve received more than 20 proposals to date, from individuals, the private sector and GLC companies. We have a matrix in which we analyse and evaluate each of these proposals. This would be part and parcel of the consultative process by which we come out with a much more comprehensive approach towards this third national car and how it would look like,” Ong said on BFM 89.9’s Breakfast Grille show this morning.

He reiterated that the government won’t be using public funds for the NNCP, which has to be financially sustainable. “I think what we’re looking for are proposals which are financially sustainable. You’ve seen that in the 2019 Budget, there’s been no commitment made by the government in terms of funding the third national car project. So, whatever proposal that comes in from the various companies will have to include serious financial proposals to make this viable.”

MITI is in the process of reviewing the National Automotive Policy (NAP), and Ong insists that the ministry is looking at a larger picture of the entire automotive ecosystem, and isn’t just focused on the NNCP.

“I think we should not discuss the thrd national car project in isolation, beacuse what’s most important is the whole automotive sector. My ministry is currrently undergoing a review process of the NAP. The last review was done in 2014 and the next one is due early next year.

“What this entails is to look at the entire automotive ecosystem. It includes for example the other CKD players; other car players such as Perodua; the vendors that supply the CKD players, Proton and Perodua; and also the other infrastructure or ecosystem related issues,” he said.

Elaborating on the final point above, he added: “If we want to introduce more hybrids and electric vehicles, we’re talking bout batteries, we’re talking about charging stations, electric motorcycles and bicycles. The bigger picture would be looking at the larger automotive sector.”

To recap, last month, entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof announced the timelines for the NNCP – the new national car’s name will be announced by the end of this year, while the prototype for the NNCP model is expected to be ready by early next year, ahead of a 2020 roll out. The car is expected to feature semi-autonomous capabilities and advanced safety features, while remaining affordable.

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