KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir has offered two options to automotive companies that are affected by floods in Thailand.
He said they could either use the existing capacity in Malaysia to support their factories in Thailand in order to complete their parts and components for overseas exports, or look at Malaysia as a base to manufacture more of these components.
“We understand that these companies must ensure that their operations are not affected by the floods but at the same time, we must be careful as we don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of our neighbour’s situation,” he said yesterday.
Mukhriz said the ministry had received enquiries from companies from all sectors including automotive that were affected by the Thai floods.
“There are 10 Malaysian companies in the automotive sector which have been affected negatively by the floods. They have to look into ways to mitigate this issue,” he told reporters after launching the 2nd NEF-AWANI ICT Awards here.
On the new national automotive policy, Mukhriz said the government had to strike a fine balance in its implementation.
“On one hand, we have to encourage investors in the sector to see Malaysia as an attractive investment destination and at the same time, we have local manufacturers that need time and opportunities to raise their level of competitiveness so that they can compete with the big names out there.
“It’s a fair policy. One that is implemented by many countries before this. Malaysia has the same approach,” he said.
Mukhriz said the government would look into all aspects, particularly its own players, when considering market liberalisation.
“Whatever we do, it’s never at the expense of our own local industry. We have to strike a balance. Even when we do that, we also open up new markets for our own companies,” he said.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had been reported as saying that Malaysia’s automotive sector should prepare themselves for full liberalisation, and he had expressed hope that the government would give local players sufficient time to ready themselves for this eventuality.
Mukhriz said Malaysia was ready for liberalisation in some aspects.
“We are already open for competition like in electric vehicles and hybrid cars,” he said.
He also said the ministry had spoken to the stakeholders including foreign investors to ensure that the policy review maintain the right and conducive environment for the industry to thrive.
“We take into consideration everyone’s feeling about this matter and whatever will come out will address these issues,” he added. — Bernama