As the new national car project (NNCP) rumbles on behind the scenes, various states will be vying to host prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s desired project. One such state is Melaka, which has offered to be the NNCP production hub.

The federal government will consider it, said entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, who added that the chosen location should have sufficient infrastructure and entrepreneurs. “In Melaka, I think Alor Gajah is one of the suitable places,” he told reporters on Saturday.

Mohd Redzuan is the MP for Alor Gajah, which also houses Honda’s Malaysian plant. The minister also pointed out that Melaka already hosts Composites Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM), a composites and aerospace research company that was named as one of the Malaysian companies shortlisted to participate in the NNCP, along with semiconductor manufacturer SilTerra.

“If more Melaka entrepreneurs want to develop together, it could be one of the destinations we would promote to investors, but it’s up to the investors to decide and we can’t force them. What is available in the state fits in well with the new national car, which will use more advanced materials,” he said.

“For the new national car project, we already have suitable industrial areas that can be developed into an automotive industry hub,” said Melaka’s industry, trade and investment committee chairman Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, who added that the state government is prepared to bring a federal government representative to visit suitable locations or send one of its own reps to Putrajaya to explain the options available in Melaka.

To recap, earlier this month, Mohd Redzuan announced the timelines for the NNCP – the new national car’s name will be announced by the end of this year, while the prototype for the NNCP model is expected to be ready by early next year, ahead of a 2020 roll out. The car is expected to feature semi-autonomous capabilities and advanced safety features, while remaining affordable.

The NNCP announcement came as the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) invited private sector proposals for the project. The last day for submissions is today. Its minister, Darell Leiking, talked about the NNCP getting ASEAN participation and not competing with Proton and Perodua last week.