Here’s another assurance from finance minister Lim Guan Eng that the third national car project proposed by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will not use public funds. Instead, it will be funded by the private sector, Bernama reports.

“If it comes from private (investments), then there will not be a problem,” he said when winding up the debate on the Supply (Reallocation of Appropriated Expenditure) Bill 2018 at the Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday.

It’s not the first time he had said so. In June, Lim told Channel NewsAsia: “I told the prime minister that we don’t have the money, and he knows it. So it is not from public funds, it’s not like Proton, no. If there are private parties who want to do it in Malaysia using their own money, I think that is something that would be worthwhile looking at – but not from public funds,” he said then.

The new national car topic was first raised by Mahathir at the Nikkei Conference in Tokyo in June, after the PM felt that his beloved Proton is no longer a national car. Despite the idea not being very well received by the majority of Malaysians, including politicians, Mahathir has pressed on.

In another trip to Japan earlier this month, the 93-year old leader revealed that Malaysia will be seeking assistance from Japanese carmakers including Nissan, Toyota and Daihatsu. This is despite the fact that Daihatsu already has operations in Malaysia via Perodua, and Toyota is of course the parent company of Daihatsu.

“Like the first national car, which started with only 18% local content (and cooperation from) Mitsubishi Motor, we were able to master the whole process of building the car, from design to clay-model and test cars. Today, modern technology is based more on sensors and other things. We need to acquire that also. But initially, we want just to build a car first for the Malaysian market, and then for the world market,” Mahathir was quoted as saying earlier.

The review of the National Automotive Policy (NAP) will be completed by the end of the year and will also take into account the proposed new national car.