What do critics of third national car project know about automotive engineering? Nothing, says Dr M

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends the Asia GT Festival at the Sepang International Circuit March 17, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

SEPANG, March 17 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today expressed disappointment with his fellow Malaysians, who have taken to criticising his idea for a third national car project.

The Langkawi MP told reporters that some of those who constantly criticise his brainchild, “know nothing about automotive engineering”.

“I came here to launch this (Proton) Saga race, and you see the Saga cars, 70 of them racing and they sound like F1 (cars), and people think that our cars are bad,” he said after flagging off the inaugural Asia GT Festival at the Sepang International Circuit today.

“Don’t buy Malaysian cars, buy foreign cars. Don’t go into third national car because it is bad. You see, you think they know the technology involved here? You saw the engine just now? They know nothing about automotive engineering,” he said, adding that this was why he is keen in a third national car.

“That’s why we are introducing the third national car. To learn. Please learn to learn. Malaysians think they know everything already. They don’t want this car because it’s a waste of money.

“They think they know everything about automotive engineering. They know nothing,” he added.

Dr Mahathir then pointed to China, praising the nation for its progress in the automotive business.

The findings from a survey released in November last year revealed that Malaysians are divided in their support for the third national car project envisioned by Dr Mahathir.

The survey found that many Malaysians are still on the fence over the proposal.

The independent survey by YouGov, an international full-service market research agency, had polled 1,012 Malaysians through its omnibuses which are sampled based on the representation of online penetration in a country.

It found that almost four in 10 Malaysians, or 38 per cent, supported the project, one in four (25 per cent) opposed it and the remaining 37 per cent were unsure.

YouGov Omnibus APAC head Jake Gammon, in the statement, described the national car project as “an ongoing endeavour that has its citizens divided”.

Dr Mahathir mooted the third national car project during a visit to Japan in June last year, to drive the manufacturing sector and transfer of technology.

Although there has been criticism on the project, Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof announced in August that the government was set to launch national car project 3.0 by 2020.