Think again on plans to launch third national car, urges Rafizi

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli asks if a specific study to assess the financial impact of the third national car project on the country has been carried out.

PETALING JAYA: PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has urged the federal government to reconsider plans to launch the third national car project.

He also said the proposal should be discussed first in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council to get the agreement of the component parties as it concerned a policy matter.

“While I appreciate the right of the Cabinet to decide, but a policy matter should in principle be scrutinised by Pakatan Harapan before being implemented by the Cabinet,” he said in a statement today.

He was responding to Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof’s announcement that the government was set to launch the national car project 3.0 by 2020 as envisioned by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

A news report quoted him as saying the government believed the move could revitalise the national automotive industry.

“We will attempt to revive and grow the industry due to its tremendous potential. Besides, auto component manufacturing is also one of the sectors that drive small and medium enterprises,” Redzuan said at a college convocation ceremony on Saturday.

Rafizi said he was worried the government would proceed with the project despite clear opposition by the people.

He said PH was elected in the May general election on the platform of reducing the cost of living.

He said the people were giving PH the time to implement its election manifesto promises, even though some of them could not be done within the stated 100 days after the formation of the new government.

“(However), to carry out something unpopular and conflicting with Pakatan Harapan’s offers will invite cynicism.

“I want to reduce the (expected) attacks and gibes against the government,” he said.

Rafizi said that since the “Buku Jingga” (Orange Book), the long-term master plan of PH’s predecessor, Pakatan Rakyat, was introduced in 2010, its component parties had promised to abolish car excise duties to bring down car prices and ease the financial burden of the people.

The excise duties were linked to efforts to protect the domestic markets of the national cars, which eventually made them more expensive compared to cars in other countries.

“The policy platform to abolish excise duties to reduce car prices was never changed even after the formation of Pakatan Harapan,” he said.

He said a third national car project never featured in PH’s campaign or manifesto.

Rafizi cited three issues in establishing a third national car which would have a huge financial impact on the people. They are:

  • How much public funds would be involved in the investment?
  • Which government agency (government-linked companies, government-linked investment companies or MOF Inc) will assume responsibility for implementing the project?
  • Does the federal government intend to abolish the excise duties to reduce car prices when the third national car is launched?

Rafizi also asked whether a specific study to assess the financial impact of the project on the country had been carried out since the minister already identified a timeline of 2020 to launch the third national car.