Prototype for 3rd national car ready, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the government will not be funding the third national car project. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the prototype for the third national car is ready, but it will not be revealed to the public.

The prime minister said the government is “working on controls” to ensure the vehicle is sensitive to the environment and reacts accordingly to prevent the driver from making mistakes.

“We have the capacity, but we need the investment,” he told reporters after launching the National Automative Policy 2020, or NAP 2020, here today.

Present were International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking and his deputy, Ong Kian Ming.

Mahathir urged the private sector to produce cars that could also be exported, adding that the government would not be funding the project.

He said the country was open to collaborating with China, South Korea and some European countries in producing the third national car as technological advances had been made in these nations.

Malaysia, he said, was also conscious about environmental pollution when it came to producing cars.

“We don’t want to pollute the environment. And because cars are used widely in large numbers, we must ensure the new cars that we build do not pollute the air.

“And this, of course, means hybrid and electric vehicles,” he said.

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.

Last year, it was reported that a Bumiputera-owned company based in Cyberjaya was set to take charge in the development of the third national car.

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