The proposed third national car project should focus on developing energy-saving vehicles, says the head of Malaysia’s Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources, Xavier Jayakumar.

In a Bernama report, the minister said fossil fuels would probably last another 25 years, warranting the need to find more sustainable forms of energy and consumption. He cited brands like BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, which have already started pushing into the realms of electrification for future models.

“The way forward is, of course, the electric vehicle (EV) option. The evolution from fossil fuel vehicles to EVs has already begun. At present, while the world continues to watch F1 racing, Formula E- is fast picking up its set of fans. This to me is a viable way for the future. As such, I am sure the benefits of having a third national car will clearly outweigh its drawbacks,” said Jayakumar.

Among the benefits include providing the people with the ability to purchase environmentally-friendly vehicles at more affordable prices thanks to mass production of EVs here. Jayakumar also said such a move would encourage the growth of the Malaysian automotive segment on a wider scope.

“The learning of new technology will spur younger generations to pursue it and Malaysia can make its mark in the automobile segment not only in the region but globally as well. The EV car industry is relatively a new field with Elon Musk’s Tesla leading the way at present,” commented Jayakumar.

“The opportunity to get our youths to jump on board and expand it further is limitless. Let the government move forward with the idea,” he continued. Jayakumar also noted that that prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s intention to introduce a third national car was to boost and spearhead the country’s economy.

Recently, it was reported that two Chinese EV companies were willing to invest up to US$10 billion (RM41 billion) in the project, spread across a five-year period. Other companies from Japan like Toyota and Nissan have also expressed their interest.

As announced by finance minister Lim Guan Eng, a third national car project will be funded by the private sector and not with public funds. “In my opinion, should either deal go through, it could only benefit the country and its people in the long run,” Jayakumar added.