You’ve read the full story on MITI’s announced import duty cuts for cars coming from Japan and Australia, now here’s the response from industry stakeholders Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders Association (Pekema) and the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA). Proton’s official response was included in the original report.

Chairman of Pekema Datuk Zainuddin Abdul Rahman pointed out the obvious fact to The Malaysian Insider that the majority of Japanese branded cars on the road were either locally-assembled or imported from our Asean neighbours.

“The impact to the (domestic) market is small because only the import duty is abolished. The tax in Asean countries isn’t that high, only 5%,” he said, adding that MITI’s move will only do away with the 30% import duty, but not excise duty.

Excise duty, which can be anywhere between 60% and 105%, forms a significantly larger percentage sum in the scheme of things.

Zainuddin added that cars in Malaysia were considered cheap even without the dismantling of import tax. “Our cars are actually still cheap… however there will still be a drop (in price) even if by just a bit,” he said. “The structure of the proposed abolishment is still not clear… what’s certain is that it will not be implemented in the near future,” the “AP Holders Club” chairman continued.

The MAA welcomed the development, although its president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said that MITI’s move will not create a big impact. “At the moment, cars imported from Asean countries, including Thailand, are not subjected to import duty. This tax reduction only applies to the fully-imported cars from the two countries, which are usually luxury cars,” she told The Star.

“However, it is a good start towards making foreign cars more affordable to the public,” the long-time MAA head added, singling out “higher-end Mazda cars” as an example of the vehicles that will see a reduction in import duty.