Just a few hours after prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad revealed that Malaysia has aspirations to start a new national car project, Khairy Jamaluddin has shared his thoughts on the matter on his official Facebook page.

In a posting, the politician said that such a move was a regressive one after the government put an end to the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit Line 3 (MRT3) project.

He added that a new national car project would not be environmentally friendly from a carbon standpoint and would come at a substantial cost to the government. These resources should instead be channeled towards projects that enhance the public transport system, he noted.

According to Khairy, since 1984, the government has been handing out various financial assistance and grants amounting to RM15.3 billion to Proton. A (new) national car project will also make it more costly for customers who wish to purchase a non-national car due to excise duties that are as high as 105%.

“Unless the new national car project will produce a fully electric car, I do not see the benefits to the people, the country’s economy and the environment. It also relies heavily on the ability to achieve economies of scale. If the scale of production is small, the desired economic impact targets may not be achieved,” Khairy said.

He advised the government, through the Cabinet, to thoroughly assess such a project before following through on it. “I hope that time and resource priorities are directed to the enhancement of public transport systems like increasing cooperation with the private sector in improving last-mile connectivity,” he said in his Facebook post.

Looking into e-hailing services via vehicles and motorcycles, a comprehensive feasibility study including how to reduce the costs of the MRT 3 project so it may be revived in the future were among his suggestions. Khairy also said considerations should be made to implement more cost-effective systems such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that aren’t just focused in the Klang Valley.