Earlier, it was reported that a sheikh from Qatar had expressed interest to invest up to US$400 billion (RM1.6 trillion) in Malaysia’s new national car project (NNCP). It was revealed by Federal Territories minister Khalid Abdul Samad, reported by Bernama. That came out from a meeting between prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Qatari, the Shah Alam MP said.

Now, Khalid’s cabinet colleague, entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, has come out to deny such an investment in the NNCP, according to Malaysiakini.

“The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) said they were interested to invest in the country, but there were no specific mention of the project (NNCP). I don’t know what’s his (Khalid) source, but I think what he meant was QIA has plenty of funds to invest in our country,” Mohd Redzuan told reporters in Cyberjaya today.

Unlike Khalid, Mohd Redzuan is directly involved in the NNCP. News of the “third national car” first came from his ministry and the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT, under the purview of the PM’s department) in October.

Then, the timelines for the NNCP was announced – the new national car’s name will be revealed 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.

Earlier this month, economic affairs minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the NNCP was discussed in a recent National Development Council meeting chaired by the PM, and “we will share the prototype with the public soonest next year.”

The ministry of international trade and industry has received over 20 proposals for the NNCP, which will receive R&D grants from the government.