What’s the Buzz: The twists and turns of the New National Car Project

After revelations by MIGHT (for Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology, really) that the ‘third national car’ will go into prototype stage in 2019 and production the year after that, national news agency Bernama reported yesterday that an individual from Qatar is interested to invest in Malaysia, including in the New National Car Project (NNCP). We aren’t pulling legs.

The number mentioned in the Bernama report is an astonishing USD$400 billion, though this sum is to be invested globally, not just in Malaysia or NNCP as reported by another news outlet (with that kind of money, you can buy Tesla whole and throw in a few other major car companies as well). How much of that USD$400 billion is earmarked for NNCP wasn’t disclosed, or whether anything’s been signed or agreed upon. The Minister of Federal Territories Khalid Abdul Samad revealed that Malaysia’s Prime Minister met Sheikh Qatari of Qatar with Tun Mahathir quoted as saying, ‘you have the money, we have the expertise’.

But before we could even wrap our heads around that, the Minister of Entrepreneur Development, Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof has refuted the assertion by his fellow minister (reported by Malaysiankini here). He maintains that the Qatari interest to invest in Malaysia is general in nature and does not specifically involve the new national car project.

Maybe the ministers were misquoted, whichever the case, given that a prototype is due early 2019 and that NNCP is to be privately funded, surely a deal has got to be struck soon. How the Sheikh’s billions, if any, square with the 24 proposals received by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) remains to be seen. Ah, there’s never a dull day in Malaysia Baru.

(Main image is a screen grab from NNCP website www.mynationalcar.org)


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