Here’s an update on the new national car project (NNCP). The government’s invitation for NNCP proposals from the private sector has closed, and the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) has in hand 14 proposals. This was revealed by MITI deputy minister Dr Ong Kian Ming in parliament today, reported by The Star.

Ong reiterated that the NNCP would be fully driven by the private sector and the government would only give select assistance based on the capabilities of the company involved.

“I believe the suggestion to conduct an economic impact study for the project is acceptable and fair, but we need to get a clear direction first as we have yet to study the proposals given by the private companies and individuals on the project. In order to carry out the economic impact report, we have to get clarity first on the National Automotive Policy,” he said in a reply to Subang MP Wong Chen, who asked the government when it would be able to produce an economic impact report on the NNCP.

The NAP review will cover a much wider scope than just the NNCP. “The last time the policy was reviewed was in 2014, and after four years we are reviewing it again. The review will be a holistic process, not only involving the third national car project but the industry as a whole,” Ong said.

The Bangi MP added that the NNCP will spur the country’s capabilities in R&D as well as new technologies in the automotive sector, besides creating a cluster of new tech and expertise in automotive engineering.

Last week, Datuk Madani Sahari – CEO of the Malaysia Automotive Institute, which is under MITI – said that the government had received two proposals to date (October 9), so plenty must have rushed in over the past week. The deadline for submissions was October 15.

To recap, earlier this month, entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof 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.