Rafizi Ramli has urged the Government to reconsider launching a third national car project, saying the rakyat has already weighed in against the idea.
“I would like to express my concerns should the Federal Government insist on continuing this project even though the people are clearly against it,” he said in a statement on Monday (Aug 6).
The PKR vice-president was referring to Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof’s statement that the Government would launch the national car project 3.0 by 2020 as envisioned by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad.
On June 11, at the 24th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia, Dr Mahathir revealed that the Government plans to work on a new national car.
However, many Malaysians did not respond positively to the suggestion, saying that the public transport system should be improved instead, while some pointed out that we had to learn the lessons of Proton.
The premier reacted badly to that rejection, and on July 17 wrote, rather acerbically, that “Malaysians prefer to buy imported cars, including those from China”.
However, Rafizi said Pakatan Harapan was chosen on a platform that it would reduce the cost of living of the people.
“As the people are still giving chances to Pakatan to achieve its manifesto promises, even though there are some that cannot be achieved in 100 days.
“But to implement something which is not popular and contradicts what Pakatan offers, will invite cynicism,” he said.
He said that since the Buku Jingga, which was issued in 2010, the party has continued to express its desire to end excise duties on car sales because the tax was seen as a burden.
“The excise duty is often connected to efforts to protect the national cars that have inadvertently made (our) car prices more expensive compared with other countries.“
This policy platform to abolish excise duties to reduce car prices has not changed since Pakatan was established.
“There are no sections in Pakatan’s campaign or its manifesto that called for the establishment of a third national car,” he said, adding that the project would have great financial impact on the rakyat.
Rafizi also asked how much of public funds would be used as investment and which government agency would take over the responsibility to oversee the project.
He also questioned whether the Federal Government would abolish excise duties to reduce car prices when the third national car is launched.
Rafizi asked whether a special plan to evaluate the project’s financial risk on the country was done.
“To reduce the sarcastic remarks and attacks against the Federal Government, I urge this issue be reconsidered,” he said.
Rafizi added that the matter should have been taken up with the Pakatan presidential council first to obtain the consent of all parties.
“While I appreciate the need for Ministers to make a decision, such policy issues must be refined in principle at the Pakatan level before they can be executed by the Ministers,” he said.
He also acknowledged that his view in the matter would be controversial.