During a press conference following the singing of a memorandum of understanding between Proton and the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), Madani Sahari, who is the CEO of MAI, touched upon the topic of the new national car project (NNCP).

Responding to a question on the feasibility of the project’s planned timeline prior to a 2020 debut as revealed by MIGHT (Malaysian industry-government group for high technology) last week, Madani said, “as you know, MITI (ministry of international trade and industry) has made an announcement for proposals for the new national car project by October 15.”

“[The] submission to MITI [ends] by October 15, so that is in another few days’ time. We are aware of several proposals [that are] now actually being finalised prior to the submission [date].”

“We think we need to look at the proposals. You see, this national car is a vision of the PM (prime minister) and obviously it is being discussed in the Cabinet. And now that ministries are supporting [it], there’s a role for every ministry to play in order to make this project a success,” he added.

Madani also pointed out that only when the proposals have been reviewed and meet the expectations of the government would there be any talk about incentives and other aspects of the project.

He noted that the timeline mentioned during the briefing last week was MIGHT’s estimate but could change depending on the winning proposal, which will cover details prototype development and start of production.

It’s also suggested that plans for a national car project may have been put into motion prior to the government’s announcement. “Bear in mind, some of the proposals may have been worked [out] even before the announcement of the government about creating a new national car,” said Madani.

“So, really, if these proposals have been developed [in the] last two years without knowing that there’s an opportunity for such a submission, then now [that] there’s an opportunity, probably there are some proposals that are ready,” he continued.

“[The] bottom line is, this will be a private funded project so it is only fair to really see what is being highlighted in the proposals and it’s just a few days’ time from now for us to really understand and take it from there,” he ended his reply.

When asked about on the sidelines later, Madani revealed that two submissions have been officially received so far, although he didn’t reveal names nor when they were submitted.