SERDANG, April 11 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today Malaysia’s desire to create a new national car brand is significant and will intensify the development of the automotive industry in the country.
“This project is expected to create new technology clusters and new expert manpower especially in learning the latest automotive engineering technology,” he said at the launch of the Malaysia Autoshow 2019, here.
Dr Mahathir said the planning for the development of the automotive industry is based on the approach of familiarising Malaysia with sophisticated future technologies, thereby making Malaysia a systematic and sustainable industrial nation.
"The approach is based on high technology, which focuses on strategic investment in the development of local supply chains and innovative new business opportunities,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the automotive sector can also generate spinoffs for the entire Malaysian economy for it to be aligned with global developments.
He said there were 27 vehicle brand manufacturers covering national and international brands in Malaysia.
In addition, he said there were more than 700 vendors, 53,000 distributors, sellers and service centers, as well as over 700,000 individuals working in the automotive and mobility sectors.
Citing statistics from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), Dr Mahathir said 598,714 vehicle units were sold last year.
"This is a 3.8 per cent increase from the previous year, of which, 62 per cent are energy-efficient vehicles.
"In terms of exports, Malaysia has exported RM2 billion worth of vehicles, and the export of local automotive components has reached RM12 billion," he said.
Dr Mahathir said the use of robotic applications and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the automotive sector would also have a spillover effect, promoting economic and technological growth in other sectors such as agriculture, health and defense.
He said the launch of the National Policy on Industry 4.0 in October last year, was part of the government's efforts to keep Malaysia's industrial development in line with global standards.
"The policy outlines the industry's transformation to become more intelligent and sustainable that will be driven by people, processes and technologies,” he said.
“The policy, he added, had provided a framework in Malaysia's digital transformation for the manufacturing and services sectors, and hence, industrial players needed to take the opportunity to take their businesses higher up the value chain.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) was also conducting a review of the National Automotive Policy.
He said the new policy to be introduced would cover the entire automotive ecosystem, supported by new technology elements such as Next Generation Vehicle (NXGV), Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and the Industrial Revolution 4.0 including Artificial Intelligence (AI), he said.
"The National Automotive Policy which will be introduced s a holistic policy that covers the development of a comprehensive automotive industry such as the construction of supply chains, human capital, aftermarket, and others," he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia Autoshow 2018 which is organised by Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) is expected to attract nearly 350,000 visitors from within and outside Malaysia.
He said a total of 32 OEM car manufacturers and 170 exhibitors from seven countries have taken part in Malaysia's largest vehicle exhibition.
At the event, Dr Mahathir also launched the new limited edition Perodua Bezza, as well as the 2019 versions of Proton Iriz and Persona.