PETALING JAYA: Will public funds be used for the proposed third national car project, asks MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, demanding clarification from Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Dr Wee made his statement in response to a report by Malay daily Berita Harian (BH) which stated that the government would be selecting a company to spearhead Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s vision for the third national car project during the National Development Council on Jan 28.
Datuk Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, CEO of Malaysia Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might), was quoted as saying that 10 private investors had shown interest in developing the proposed project’s first hybrid car.
They include Sime Darby Auto Engineering (SDAE) and SilTerra Malaysia Sdn Bhd (SMSB).
In a statement posted on Facebook on Jan 21, Dr Wee said SDAE and SMSB were both government-linked corporations (GLC).
“If we take a look at the shareholding structure of SDAE, Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) holds 52%, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) 10% and Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) 6%.
“The principal investor of SMSB, meanwhile, is Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the strategic investment arm of the Malaysian government,” he said, pointing out that the semiconductor manufacturer was known to be a loss-making company.
He said SMSB had cumulative losses totalling RM7.3bil for 10 years up to 2011.
“These are alarming facts. Are GLCs supported by government funds? Are government funds sourced from the public?
“Should SMSB be given the green light to participate in this third national car project? Will DAP speak up? Or will it remain silent?” he questioned.
Dr Wee said it was ironic that the government remained adamant about pursuing the third national car project and the crooked bridge project while maintaining that its coffers were empty.
He said Dr Mahathir should have learned from the past and should prioritise the development of public transport rather over-investment in the automobile industry.
“The population of Malaysia is not huge, and so the local automobile market is small. What more, we already have two national cars, namely Proton and Perodua,” he added.
The Ayer Hitam MP said that if the government still insisted on using public funds for the third national car project, it could result in imported cars carrying a heftier price tag, which would be passed down to Malaysians.
“The third national car should not be a priority and the government shouldn’t use public funds for the project,” he added.
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