In a response to a question by Datuk Adam Hamid in the Dewan Negara yesterday, MITI Minister Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed said, "If the pricing is competitive and the quality is good, people will buy. We cannot force people to buy our cars.”
He added that only 20,000 local cars were sold to Asean countries last year and mentioned, "To be honest, we have not fully succeeded in the vehicle industry in terms of Asean trade.”
Datuk Adam had asked if vehicle manufacturers in the country could take the opportunity of the upcoming Asean Economic Community (AEC) to increase sales, The Star reported.
A breakdown of the 20,000 locally manufactured cars which were exported last year revealed that 7,000 of the amount were Mazda cars. Most of the cars were sold to Thailand, while a small amount of Perodua cars were exported to Indonesia and other Asean member countries.
As a comparison, Datuk Seri Mustapha said, "Malaysia manufactured 650,000 cars while Thailand manufactured two million cars and sold half of them overseas.”
He cited various reasons for this occurrence including Thailand’s open policy where incentives and ownership is given to the companies, and there is no limit to ownership, unlike in Malaysia. Another factor was the Non-Tariff Barriers that meant Asean countries are able to freely sell their cars in member countries having to pay for import duty but only for the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and excise duty.
Yesterday, Proton Holdings Bhd Chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad posted a sarcastic response to CEO of the Malaysian Automotive Institute, Madani Sahari’s statement that liberalising the local automotive industry would benefit local consumers and allow the industry to further explore the export market.