Prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob officiated DRB-Hicom’s launch of the Automotive Hi-Tech Valley (AHTV) development plan at Tanjung Malim yesterday evening, and he proposed that Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), which is within the AHTV area, develop a Centre of Advanced Automotive Research and Training (CAART).

The PM said that the centre is to meet the needs of the country’s automotive sector in terms of trained manpower, education and research.

“By being equipped with lecture rooms, accommodation facilities and high-tech laboratories, CAART at UPSI can focus on research, skills training, human resource development and maintenance related to the latest automotive technology. This is to ensure that the demand and supply in terms of the latest technology, training and human resource at AHTV can be sustained in a productive manner,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said that the the proposed training centre would indirectly focus on the development of electric vehicles (EV) and artificial intelligence (AI) as that’s the direction of the automotive industry.

He added that efforts to develop AHTV into a new hub for manufacturing EVs is in line with the government’s desire and commitment towards achieving the environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, apart from making Malaysia a carbon-neutral nation by 2050.

“The government hopes that this development project can drive the development of downstream industries and other sectors which are focused on the latest technology, especially in the efficient use and management of resources to reduce the greenhouse effect. InsyaAllah, with a direction that is carefully mapped out, AHTV can bring benefits to not only local residents but also Malaysia in general,” he added.

According to DRB-Hicom, besides trying to be a manufacturing hub, AHTV will also see the setting up of a research university.

“This will create an educational framework to nurture a new generation of engineers for the automotive industry in areas of engineering, IT, design, AI, mobility solutions and software development. This will strengthen local R&D capabilities and ensure competitiveness of local OEMs. The establishment of an automotive- based research university augur well for Malaysia, as the industry surges ahead with next generation vehicles (NxGV) and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS),” the group said in a statement.

Geely Holding Group’s CEO, Daniel Li Donghui, also touched on education in his speech via videolink yesterday. “We firmly believe that business investment and education go hand in hand, the two cannot exist without each other. That is why Geely Holding has developed a strong education arm, establishing several universities across China.

“We see the next generation of engineers, and scientists, contributing to the success of our industry, and our wider society. This education plus business model could work at AHTV; creating an educational framework to attract talent and then establishing a research institute,” he said. Geely is working to identify vendors and investors to the new hub – more on the Automotive Hi-Tech Valley here.