Published on October 4th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
3rd National Car Project Must Get Governments Promise To Be Totally Private
“Press statement by MCA Deputy President Datuk Seri Dr Ir Wee Ka Siong”. The Government must honour its promise that no public funds will be used for the 3rd national car project.
- The government has repeatedly promised that the 3rd national car project will be a private project and will not involve any public funds.
- However, the announcement today by Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof that the 3rd national car will be ready before the year 2020 and that they will finalize their partners for the project by yearend has raised concerns.
- The two partners mentioned by Mohd Redzuan are Silterra and CTRM.
- Silterra, which was started by Tun Mahathir during his first term as Prime Minister, is wholly-owned by our sovereign fund, Khazanah Nasional. Silterra is the second largest money loser for Khazanah. Silterra had cumulative losses totalling RM7.3 billion for 10 years up to 2011, mostly funded by Khazanah.
- CTRM appears to refer to Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd. If this is true, CTRM is a subsidiary of the DRB-Hicom Group owned by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar, similar to Proton Bhd. In recent years, Proton had been bailed out by the government to the tune of RM2.7 billion in soft loans and grants.
- Due to their history, the emergence of these two companies now raises serious doubts over the promise that no public funds will be used for the 3rd national car project.
7. Additionally, MITI had promised that the government will provide facilitation and assistance for the 3rd national car project. This could mean government soft loans and other regulatory measures that could hurt consumers’ interest.
- Therefore, I repeat my call first made in August 2018 that the government must provide 3 written promises to the rakyat if they insist to continue with the 3rd national car project despite their self-declared RM1 trillion national debt.
i) No protectionism will be imposed be given that can cause car prices to increase.
ii) There will be no bail-outs of any kind by the government either via direct loans, grants or guarantees should it run into financial problems.
iii) There should also not be any special treatment given to the privately owned 3rd national car company nor should there be any cross-subsidy to their owners indirectly as what happened when a government fund was forced to buy a building at a very high price from the firm that had help bail out Perwaja steel.
- Although it is the prerogative of the government to proceed with this project despite strong public opposition, the government must be held to its promise that no public funds will be used either now or in the future via bail-outs or cross-subsidies and promise that the public interest will not be compromised.
Statement from Datuk Seri Dr Ir Wee Ka Siong, MCA Deputy President