Another day, another report about the third national car project championed by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. This time, the government says that the proposed new car brand does not contravene the government’s policy to reduce traffic congestion in the country, reports Bernama.

“I am confident that through the formulation of new policies and the implementation of efficient public transportation system, the people will choose to use public transport,” said international trade and industry minister Ignatius Darell Leiking, who added that the government will continue with its plan to provide a more efficient public transportation system.

Leiking was replying to a supplementary question in the Dewan Rakyat from Datuk Rozman Isli (BN-Labuan), on whether the plan to launch a third national car would add to traffic woes in major urban areas.

Replying another question from Rozman on the launch date of the third national car project, Leiking said it was still at the proposal stage. Should it materialise, various (tax) incentives would be given out to operators involved in accordance with the National Automotive Policy 2018, which will be announced by the government in the near future.

It was previously reported that the NAP review is set to be completed by year-end. Entrepreneur development minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof was previously quoted as saying that the new national car project may get underway by 2020.

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.

Earlier this week, finance minister Lim Guan Eng reiterated that the third national car project will be funded by the private sector, as opposed to public funds.