KUALA LUMPUR: Local car manufacturers should incorporate more safety features in their vehicles before the Government forces them to do so by law, said Transport Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy.
He said the manufacturers should initiate this voluntarily instead of the Government having to compel them through legislation.
“I would love to see local car manufacturers doing more to integrate some of the latest road safety technologies into their cars, which will help a great deal in reducing road accidents. No one should overlook safety and the Government is very concerned about this.
“We will see how the manufacturers respond to this call before deciding whether to have legislation on safety features for vehicles,” he told reporters after launching the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2003 – themed “Leading the Way Forward” – at the Putra World Trade Centre, which is open to the public from today until Sept 14.
Chan agreed that there were many advanced technologies and safety features, like airbags, which were available in the automotive industry but were not found in the locally-made vehicles.
On road accidents, he said the Government had managed to keep road fatalities to about 5,000 annually although the number of vehicles on the road increased by half a million annually.
The figure, he said, was higher in the past when the number of vehicles was less. Nevertheless, he said the Government was still not happy with the high number of deaths.
Earlier, in his speech, Chan said the automotive industry must continuously seek its niche and enhance its technology to stay competitive.
Commenting on Chan’s statement on safety features by local manufacturers, Aishah Ahmad, president of the Malaysian Automotive Association which is organising the motor show, said her members would look at safety as it was an important requirement.
She also said the show had attracted a bigger foreign presence, who were taking advantage of the impending Afta. The exhibition expects 350,000 visitors. The last show netted RM250mil in sales volume.