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Give equal treatment to all carmakers, says MAA

Its president Aishah Ahmad says the way forward is to liberalise the market.

Its president Aishah Ahmad says the way forward is to liberalise the market.

MAA president Aishah Ahmad says imposing restrictions on foreign carmakers is a regressive move. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Imposing restrictions on foreign cars to support the growth of national carmakers is regressive and against the spirit of the automotive market liberalisation, a policy designed to create a conducive market by allowing firms to compete on a level-playing field, says Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president Aishah Ahmad.

She said liberalising the market was the way forward for the auto industry.

“If you want to create a conducive auto industry, then you have to liberalise the market,” The Edge reported her as saying.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in Parliament that the government would review the policy of the previous administration which gave foreign carmakers easy access to the local market.

He added that the government wanted to give Malaysian carmakers an opportunity to control the local market.

Aishah, who earlier attended a 30-minute briefing with the five-man Council of Eminent Persons, said imposing restrictive measures was a regressive move for the industry.

“I don’t think it is right for the government to say they want to put certain restrictions on carmakers, other than Proton, on cars being brought into the country,” she was quoted as saying by The Edge.

Aishah said with Proton now owned by a private firm, the government should accord equal treatment to all carmakers in the country.

“Proton is no longer owned by the government… everybody should get the same treatment,” she said.

Aishah said a car was considered local if it was assembled in that country, and all policies must be implemented without discrimination.

“Even though you are talking about foreign cars in Malaysia, they are highly localised and so our policies should not be discriminatory. Honda, for example, has 70%-80% local content and they cannot be considered as foreign cars, when they have such high local content and are assembled in the country,” she said.

Aishah said by providing a level-playing field, Malaysia would be taking a step in the right direction to replicate the success stories seen in Thailand and Indonesia.

On the proposal for a new national car company, Aishah said the government should reconsider its plan and conduct a thorough feasibility study before going ahead with the idea as it was a highly capital-intensive venture with a small market.

“What we don’t want is further incentives provided for (the) new national car (company), which (will) really disrupt the industry. It will not help the industry at all,” she added.

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Tags: FMT, Free Malaysia Today
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