The third national car project is timely, as it can fulfil market needs in a bid to complete the automotive industry under the connected mobility concept, says Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari, reported by Bernama.

“Technologies related to information technology and electronics will develop rapidly to prepare for such vehicles. This is one of the branches of R&D that can be developed if we have the (third) national car. The R&D that we have done are good but we must move forward, so we can develop R&D in the connected mobility segment,” he said on the national news agency’s Ruang Bicara programme last night.

Madani, a supporter of the new national car project mooted by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, dismissed the perception that the proposal by the PM was due to his frustration with Proton. “That is only a perception. The desire to develop the third national car project is not solely to gain fame but it will spur economic spillovers in terms of engineering as well as services.

“For me, the development of the automotive industry is getting bigger as its scope is tremendous. The cake is big enough for the third national car to play a role. Of course, Proton and Perodua will play their respective roles but the third national car will be another national car entity,” he said.

It’s no secret that many Malaysians aren’t supportive of the third national car project, something that Mahathir himself is fully aware of.

“One thing I’ve learned in my line of work – one I consider a great honour and challenge – is the elimination of preconceived bias and assumptions to any issue. As a nation that is itself on a learning curve, we too must look at issues from both sides of the divide before forming an opinion,” the MAI man said in an opinion piece on paultan.org last month.

At the end of the day, both camps are viewing it from their perspective. Consumers don’t want something shoved down their throats in the name of “patriotism”, and the snippets we’ve heard so far has been to the tune of “we must support local, shun foreign.” On the other hand, the government’s goal is to grow the local automotive industry and ecosystem, industrialisation via the auto industry, and being self-sufficient. You can read the latter argument by Madani in full here. Thoughts?