Ever since Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir announced his ambition to launch a third national car project, public opinion has been sharply divided.
Much of the concerns lay in the ‘protectionism’ argument, which then results in issues of lack of scale and competitiveness; even greater, undercurrent of whispers of ‘bailouts’ if this new project suffers the same fate as many other ‘mega-projects' rolled out before.
“What must be stated very clearly is that the third national car project is a private undertaking,” explains Datuk Madani Sahari, the CEO of Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI).
It will be a private company running the show. Hence, it has to be competitive, market-oriented, and technology-driven to ensure commercial success
“It will be a private company running the show. Hence, it has to be competitive, market-oriented, and technology-driven to ensure commercial success,” he says.
What Madani is alluding to is the fact that the third national car project won’t be molded in the same shape and form as the first two national car projects.
“We will see the third national car embrace technology to its highest potential,” he continues. “Anything from self-driving capabilities, high automation, even health sensing capabilities of the occupants of the car will be seen in the third national car project,” he says.
There are even discussions on how this will impact the overall economy of the country.
“When we talk about the third national car project, we are looking at tens of thousands of jobs being created across various sectors to support this endeavor,” he adds.
So far, two automotive industry players have submitted proposals on project. Next Monday, October 15th is the deadline to submit all proposals.
Watch the full interview of Dato’ Madani as he makes his case for a national car project.