Daim comes to Dr M's defence over third national car

Manirajan Ramasamy, Masriwanie Muhamading

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not simply aiming to develop a third national car, but adopting a broader perspective to ensure that Malaysia can compete in the fourth industrial revolution (IR 4.0).

Tun Daim Zainuddin, who heads the Council of Eminent Persons, said the automotive sector, which employed about 700,000 people, was one of the sectors that the government planned to focus on.

“My personal view, the prime minister idea is not so much the third national car. It is to ensure that we have the right education system to face the future,” he told a press conference at Ilham Tower, here, today.

“And the future industries are in manufacturing... certain types of manufacturing, mainly require engineering skills. That is what he wanted in order (for the country) to be able to compete in the future.”

Daim said Dr Mahathir realised that it was vital for Malaysia to upgrade the skills of its manpower.

“So, if we can produce the components first, that is important so that we can supply and export to the motor industries.

“From there we start to upgrade until such a time that we are in position to produce, not a Malaysian car. It is Asian car. Where the private sector can invest. That is my understanding.”

In June, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia should have a third national car. The idea was met with criticism from both politicians and the rakyat. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd