KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 (Bernama) — The national automobile industry needs to step up its competitiveness, particularly in the export market, given the rising intense competition from global players, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said the ministry was not happy with the current export performance of the industry unlike the offtake of auto-components which was performing well.
Mustafa said the local industry would have to be mindful of the fact that in the next few years China would slowly, but surely, emerge as an important exporter.
“Exports is one indicator of how competitive we are because we are competing against big giants from Japan, Korea and the United States.
“Increasingly, perhaps in the future, we should be aware that the Chinese are building capabilities in the automobile sector,” he told a press conference after witnessing the signing of a vendor development programme by five companies here Tuesday.
The companies which signed the vendor development programme agreement were Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, UMW Corporation and Pharmaniaga Bhd.
Mustapa said the government would review the progress of National Automotive Policy (NAP), which has been in existence for a year now, and details would be announced by mid-January.
He said the NAP has showed that some companies have made progress and were competitive in the market while some were not.
Meanwhile, commenting on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s investment in Cayman Islands, Mustapa said “it’s not an unusual practice” as some banks and sovereign funds have been doing this.
“Investing in financial centres like this is a normal course that some companies take because of tax savings, business facilitation, privacy and protection of assets.
“Those are considerations that motivate some companies to manage their funds out of offshore centres,” he added.