KUALA LUMPUR: It's no “privilege” to get a franchised Approved Permit (AP), according to Weststar group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim.
Anyone could apply for one as long as an overseas car manufacturer authorised the sale of its vehicles in Malaysia, he explained.
After acquiring the vehicle manufacturer's approval, the importer concerned will have to seek the Government's approval to bring in the cars via APs.
He also said operating the business was not as easy as some made it out to be.
Relating his own experience in trying to meet Honda officials in Japan, he said: “They did not want to see me initially. We had to prove ourselves first before Weststar could get a foot inside the door to bring in Honda models.
“The franchise AP is another business, and it is not tradable for about RM30,000 as reported. We don't make that kind of money, and if we don't use the AP we will lose it.”
There are two types of APs – open AP and franchise AP.
Franchise APs are issued to companies which have signed deals directly with the principal companies. Weststar is authorised to bring in Honda and Chevrolet cars through APs.
Syed Azman, a retired major (he clarified that he had never served with the International Trade and Industry Ministry) was named yesterday as one of the “AP kings” in the country, receiving a total of 15,759 APs together with Weststar directors Datuk Haniff Abdul Aziz and Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad.
Syed Azman rejected the notion that all AP holders “make big money”.
“This is a wrong impression. Just like any other business, there are risk factors, and despite the odds we have invested a lot of money in this business.”
He also said that applying and getting a franchise AP was a long procedure and was not as easy as reported.