Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said yesterday that the government expected some announcements from vehicle manufacturers or assemblers, including big car makers to produce energy-efficient vehicles (EEVs) in Malaysia soon.
"We hope to see some announcements being made by some of the big car makers in the near future based on the incentives we offered and I'm quite confident that they will be taking advantage of some of these special incentives that we are providing, he said.
Mukhriz said after officiating at the two-day National Automotive Technology and Digital Engineering Symposium organised by the ministry's agency, Malaysia Automotive Institute, which began yesterday.
He said the incentives for carmakers to produce more EEVs in Malaysia have been announced in the previous National Automotive Policy (NAP), but it took some time for them to understand the benefits offered to them by the government.
Asked when the much-awaited NAP review would be unveiled, he said, "Let the (Miti) minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed announce it and the NAP would provide a road map for the local automotive industry from this year up to 2020."
He also said there was some misconception on the scope or meaning of EEVs because people tended to assume it was meant for hybrid and electric cars, but EEVs also included cars with internal combustion engines that have higher mileage per litre of fuel and less omission of carbon dioxide.
"For all these types of cars, we have provided incentives. So we are not looking at electric or hybrid, but also fully combustion engine cars which are becoming more energy efficient even for diesel," he said.
At the moment, he said, EEVs comprised mostly hybrid and electric cars representing about one per cent of the total vehicles on the road.
Asked how the government wanted to boost the EEV production while still subsidising the fuel price, Mukhriz said the government could not cut the subsidies drastically as the usage of more EEVs was still at the early stage in this country and very few people were using them.
"If subsidies are reduced in the short term, it would give quite a negative impact on many people. On this awareness, we must implement it in phases," he said.