Minister accused in Dewan of stereotyping race according to cars

International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali.

KUALA LUMPUR: An example of how car buyers would benefit from the government’s tax exemption created a stir at the Dewan Rakyat today when the minister in charge was accused of “stereotyping” races according to their wealth.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali had been reading out the lower sales numbers for vehicles during the movement control order (MCO) period as well as measures taken to improve these.

He said only 141 cars were sold in April, with no motorcycle sales, adding however that the 100% tax exemption under the government’s stimulus package had helped boost these numbers.

He said if a fictional character by the name of Mak Cik Kiah bought a Perodua for RM44,590, she would pay RM1,561 less with a discount of 3.5% under the tax exemption.

“If Mr Ong buys a Mercedes Benz at RM658,888 – ” he continued before he was interrupted by Khalid Samad (PH-Shah Alam) who asked why the minister had stereotyped Malaysians according to their wealth.

“Why would a Malay buy a Myvi and a Chinese buy a Mercedes?” Khalid asked.

At this, Azmin changed the name to Mr Khalid, saying “Mr Khalid” would enjoy a tax exemption of RM12,262 or 1.86%.

He was responding to Ong Kian Ming (PH-Bangi) who had asked about the vehicle sales.

Ong later said there was no need to stereotype races according to their perceived wealth.

Ahman Maslan (BN-Pontian) meanwhile questioned the amount in discounts despite the government’s 100% tax exemption.

“Why is the discount only about 3% and not 10% (for vehicles?” he asked. “Logically the price should come down.”

He also asked about the plans for a third national car, announced by the previous government.

Azmin said the 100% tax exemption was based on factory prices, not road prices which include the cost of car accessories.

On the third national car project, he said it was part of the National Automobile Policy 2020 and would not involve any government funds.

He said it was a private initiative currently being looked at by several Bumiputera companies.

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