SEPANG: Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he did not approve for a government-linked company to buy shares in DreamEdge, the firm that will produce Malaysia’s third national car.
“It wasn’t me who approved it, but it is already done, so I have nothing to say,” the prime minister added after attending KLIA’s 21st anniversary celebration here today.
Also present were Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook, Malaysia Airports group CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, Malaysia Airports chairman Zainun Ali and Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari.
Mahathir was asked to comment on MCA president Wee Ka Siong’s claim that federal ministers Lim Guan Eng and Darell Leiking had lied over the funding for the third national car project, which they said would be privately financed.
This comes after DreamEdge confirmed that there is investment from the government in the company.
DreamEdge CEO Khairil Adri Adnan had previously said that VentureTECH Sdn Bhd owns 10% of DreamEdge. This had been the situation since 2017.
But Wee said that VentureTECH is 100% owned by Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) which, in turn, is owned 100% by the government.
Today, Mahathir said he suspected that because DreamEdge is doing “a lot of things and seems to be capable”, some government departments wanted to have “a piece of the action”.
“Lots of government agencies, when they see something about to take off, think they should have a piece of the cake,” he said.
Earlier, Mahathir defended the need for a third national car, saying the automobile industry was not static and there was a need to move forward.
“Everything changes and progresses and if you don’t keep up, you will be left behind,” he said.
He also said the intention behind the introduction of the third national car was to stimulate the engineering industry.
Putrajaya had on several occasions said the government would not fund the project, which will be developed in collaboration with Daihatsu Motors in Japan, with the first model ready by 2021 and mass production by 2031.
Meanwhile, when contacted, a source within the ministry said that the shares were purchased during the previous regime, which was why Mahathir could not have approved it.