Malaysia’s count of new EVs for sale has grown significantly in 2021 and into 2022, but Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong is intent on encouraging automakers to shift production to Malaysia, placing us as an ASEAN leader.
He emphasised that Malaysia's government and other decision-making bodies were willing, even eager, to cooperate with automakers to manufacture and/or assemble electric vehicles to widen the breadth of options to the rakyat at competitive prices.
In addition, Dr Wee said that research and development opportunities and other high-value investments from abroad would be welcome as well, citing this as an important first step to position Malaysia as a platform to bring EVs into the regional market.
In a social media post earlier this week: “On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I welcome high-value investments from abroad into Malaysia as a vital platform to bring EV manufacturing into the ASEAN market,”
“As Transport Minister, I assure you that we are ever ready to lend our assistance and cooperation to parties interested to invest in the country, particularly in transport and manufacturing, assembly, and R&D into EV in Malaysia.”
He also added that he received a call from Lamborghini representative along with CEO of GSS Energy, Sydney Yeung, saying that they “…had a good discussion on the future of electric vehicles in Malaysia from several important standpoints, mulling over Malaysians' acceptance to using EV, the government's support of the industry as well as potential investments and market prospects for EV here.”
Lamborghini does indeed have plans for further electrification of their vehicle line-up, especially due to directives from parent company Volkswagen, but they are hardly at the forefront of EV production in terms of innovation or volume.
Currently, Malaysia is experiencing an influx of new EV models from brands such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Hyundai with many more coming this year alone due to the sweeping policies first introduced as part of the Budget 2022 tabling. These have essentially made EVs available for sale at nearly tax-free prices.
A present only Volvo is locally assembling (CKD) electric vehicles for the Malaysian market.
More recently, Honda and Toyota have pioneered their own path to locally electrified vehicle assembly with the City RS and Corolla Cross Hybrid, respectively. With the growing technical expertise and mechanical capacity to roll out hybrids and PHEVs here, it’s not too far a stretch to imagine a battery electric vehicle being far behind.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.