Bumi-owned R&D firm to spearhead 3rd national car

PETALING JAYA: A Bumiputera-owned company based in Cyberjaya is set to take charge in the development of Malaysia’s third national car, which will be unveiled today more than a year after the idea mooted by Dr Mahathir Mohamad drew both praise and criticism, FMT has learnt.

DreamEDGE Sdn Bhd, founded in 2007, is likely to develop the Range Extended Electric Vehicle (REEV), which was among the goals of the country’s National Automotive Policy introduced more than a decade ago.

It was reported previously that Proton, which built the first national car in the early eighties, had also come up with a REEV prototype.

But it was DreamEDGE’s plan which caught the prime minister’s attention.

“DreamEDGE has a special relationship with Mahathir as it is considered a leader in innovation where automotive, artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing are concerned,” a source said.

It is learnt that the company also has the expertise to develop military assets, including Light Strike Vehicles.

The source said the company has all the characteristics that have been close to the prime minister. On its website, it talks about the Look East Policy which Mahathir still promotes.

“We pride ourselves as one of the products of the Look East Policy programme, and since our establishment we’ve been inculcating the Japanese working culture in all of our employees,” it said.

From its beginning in a shop office lot with three engineers, it now has a manufacturing and prototyping centre in Cyberjaya, an innovation lab in Bukit Jalil within the government’s premier R&D institute Sirim, a design centre in Taiping, as well as an R&D office in Tokyo, Japan.

DreamEDGE now employs over 100 engineers, and has been awarded design and R&D contracts by corporations in Japan, the UK, Austria, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“These contracts can be in the form of projects that can vary from a few thousand ringgit for small-scale engineering deliverables to millions of ringgit for turnkey projects, e.g. new vehicle development which involves design, prototype development and developing systems for mass production,” it said on its website.

The launch of the new national car project will be officiated by International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking.

Mahathir had proposed the third national car as he felt Proton was no longer a national car, following its sale to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2017.

Mahathir said the latest car project would utilise the talent pool and resources in the country to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs and industries to thrive and create job opportunities.