Wee concerned over shortlisted partners for 3rd national car project

MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong is concerned that Silterra and CTRM are among the possible partners for the third national car project.

PETALING JAYA: The government’s announcement that Silterra and CTRM are among the possible partners for the third national car project casts doubts on Putrajaya’s promise that public funds won’t be used for the project, says MCA.

In a statement, MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong said this was because Silterra is linked to the government’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

Wee said CTRM, if it is in reference to Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd, is a subsidiary of DRB Hicom, which in the past benefited from government assistance.

“Silterra is wholly-owned by Khazanah Nasional and is the second largest money-loser for Khazanah.

“It had cumulative losses totalling RM7.3 billion for 10 years up to 2011, mostly funded by Khazanah.”

In the case of CTRM, Wee said the DRB-Hicom Group subsidiary also owns Proton and is owned by Syed Mokhtar Albukhary.

“In recent years, Proton had been bailed out by the government to the tune of RM2.7 billion in soft loans and grants.”

Wee added that the international trade and industry ministry had promised that the government would provide assistance for the third national car project.

“This could be in the form of loans or regulatory measures that could ultimately hurt consumers.

“I repeat my call that the government must provide three written promises to the rakyat if they insist on continuing with the third national car project despite their self-declared RM1 trillion national debt.”

Wee listed the following promises:

  • no protectionist measures are imposed (which will then cause car prices to increase);
  • the government will not bail out the project should it run into financial trouble; and,
  • no special treatment is given to this third national car company.

Earlier today, Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof said the new national car project is expected to roll out its first model before 2020.

“We are now short-listing two to three partners to participate in this project, including Silterra and CTRM, and expect (the selection) to be concluded by year-end,” he was quoted as saying.

News reports said the name of the vehicle will be announced by the end of this year, while the prototype for the model is expected to be ready by early next year.

The vehicle is also expected to feature semi-autonomous driving capability.