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KUALA LUMPUR: The latest blueprint for Malaysia’s automotive sector will most likely skew towards rewarding electrification and investments in energy efficient vehicles (EEVs).

Industry observers said the International Trade and Industry Ministry would, among others, incentivise more electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs) under the National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP2020).

Malaysia, they added, would also continue the drive towards EEV development when NAP2020 is unveiled by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Friday.

The ministry would continue to use the opaque “customised incentives based on ROI (return on investment” calculation, said dsf.my which claimed to have seen the NAP2020 slides.

“But don’t worry, because this means the Malaysian consumer can finally look forward to more vehicles, particularly ones that are more advanced, safer, and perhaps even pure electric vehicles,” the portal said.

Malaysia Automotive, Robotics & IoT Institute (MARii) chief executive officer Datuk Madani Sahari said NAP2020 would continue the drive towards EEVs with new specific focus on driving technology and intelligent mobility products and services.

This included core competencies in Next Generations Vehicles (NxGV), Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Industry 4.0.

“The directions and strategies within the NAP2020 will be remodelled to incentivise more investment, business operations and talent participation in broader mobility sectors such as electrification, smart manufacturing, big data management, artificial intelligence and other critical sectors and disciplines,” Madani told the New Straits Times yesterday.

He said the customised incentives model under the NAP2014 had proven successful, with more high impact businesses and jobs created through the 27 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), 641 parts and component suppliers and more than 700,000 jobs in the manufacturing and aftersales sectors.

“This incentivisation scheme will be continued and broadened to include more stakeholders and sectors to create a comprehensive mobility industry in Malaysia,” he added.

Automotive analysts believe the government’s incentives for EVs and EEVs would continue as long as firm policies were in place to support the local automotive sector.

Auto analyst Hezeri Samsuri believes the government would focus on developing the nation to become the manufacturing hub for NxGV, while attracting more OEMs and vendours to participate in the ecosystem.

NxGV is a vehicle with a minimum of Level 3 conditional automation, capable of monitoring its surrounding at a limited speed with basic autonomous driving.

“We not only want to become the assembler for this NxGV but also involved research and development for this vehicle. Therefore, we can come up with our own technology and nurture local talent,” he said.

Hezeri said the new NAP would be “a bit boring for consumers”, but would leapfrog the local automotive players and vendors to be more competitive and innovative.

“We want to develop the nation where people can earn enough to afford the technology (vehicle) under the new NAP,” he said.

He added that Malaysia could not survive solely on car assembly without owning the technology.

“If we own the technology, then we are safe and better prepare to further develop the skills and technology as well as nurture local talents,” he said, adding that complete knocked-down assembler was not the future but rather developing its own technology and skills was the way forward.

He said the new NAP would stimulate OEMs and local vendours to partake in the manufacturing of NxGVs.

“Malaysia currently falls under Level 2 autonomous vehicles. In order to move forward, we believe the government would focus on reaching Level 3 and above in terms of connected vehicle autonomous driving,” he said.

Another source said cars scrapping would not be made mandatory in the country but rather the vehicles would be inspected for road worthiness.

“This is to protect used cars industry and the sustainability of the local automotive sector,” he said.

First introduced in 2006, the NAP was aimed at facilitating the required transformation and integration of the local automotive industry with regional and global networks within the increasingly competitive environment.

Subsequently, the policy was reviewed in 2009 before another revision being made in 2014 that saw local automotive sector transitioning into greener technology for EEVs with an ultimate objective to make Malaysia as the regional EEV hub by 2020.

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