‘Think big­ger with Tesla’

> An­a­lysts ad­vo­cate idea of coun­try ex­plor­ing elec­tric cars with car­maker


PETALING JAYA: Two an­a­lysts have said Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad should ex­plore mod­ules of car­maker Tesla if the plan for a new na­tional car is to be re­alised.

On Mon­day, Ma­hathir ex­pressed in­ter­est in a new na­tional car project with part­ners in the re­gion that were able to pro­duce qual­ity and mar­ketable cars.

While the idea may not be well re­ceived by some Malaysians, two an­a­lysts said Ma­hathir’s pro­posal should be wel­comed, but cau­tioned that the coun­try should move away from pro­duc­ing con­ven­tional cars like it did with Pro­ton.

Econ­o­mist Prof Bar­joyai Bar­dai said Malaysia should ex­plore new op­por­tu­ni­ties in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try by cap­i­tal­is­ing on its ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­duc­ing cars, and the ex­per­tise of other coun­tries in the re­gion.

“I think we are very for­tu­nate to have over 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in car pro­duc­tion. But now, we need to think big­ger. We can be pro­duc­ing elec­tric cars only, like Tesla.

“Of course, there is the chal­lenge of cost and pro­duc­tion. But if we can find the tech­nol­ogy to pro­duce good bat­ter­ies for the cars at a cheaper price then that would be wel­comed.”

Malaysian Fu­ture Foun­da­tion founder Mohd Radzi Abd Latif said the idea for an­other na­tional car should also not be seen as purely a com­mer­cial ven­ture, and that it has to be viewed from the per­spec­tive of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

He said there were many in­no­va­tive and tech­no­log­i­cal op­tions for com­mer­cial car man­u­fac­tur­ing ven­tures, such as driver­less cars and elec­tric-pow­ered ve­hi­cles.

“Tesla founder Elon Musk even sent a Tesla car into space to prove its dura­bil­ity and now talks about pro­duc­ing fly­ing cars. He dares to dream. What about us?

“We are still de­bat­ing whether we should have an­other na­tional car. Let’s re­gard the na­tional car project as a break­through ven­ture that aims to re­vi­talise our eco­nomic growth fo­cused on a sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion-based in­dus­try,” he said.

Radzi Bar­joyai Bar­dai

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