I am going to be a lot more direct and straightforward in this piece. The National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP2020) has been launched and, at the time of writing, around 600 news stories have been published since Feb 21. When our team completed the first draft of the NAP2020 about a year ago, we realised one thing — this policy would be impossible to explain in a single sitting, perhaps not even in a week. We knew it would take a few months, even years, of continuous engagement and campaigning to ensure it was fully optimised and implemented. The key takeaway for the launch was quite straightforward — Malaysia knows the world is going through a new phase in mobility, and we want in. We want to make sure that the nation is ready and, most importantly, want to be ready to participate in the global markets as a force to be reckoned with in disruptive technologies. I would like to thank everyone who came to the launch and I saw many who spent time rummaging through the NAP2020 booklet. Some even met with me after the event to seek clarification on issues that required more depth. We welcome feedback and criticism from all stakeholders, including the media. In the past week, I spent time speaking to many media outlets to iron out what wasn’t clear and explain how stakeholders could start implementing their business strategies or investment plans. For example, there was admittedly some confusion about how many national cars would be announced — some outlets said there were two more national cars and one national motorcycle. We then clarified that it was referring to our current national cars (Proton and Perodua) and national motorcycle (Modenas). Some of those responsible removed their articles after the clarification, as we understood such a mistake could take place. However, there were some who took advantage of such a confusion in the name of what I suppose was sensationalism. While questions and criticism are important to allow the policy to be realigned and reviewed in the future, it is important that such criticism is found upon the correct facts and fundamentals. An example would be how a few pieces argued that the NAP2020 did not spell out key baselines, incentives structures or even goodies for car owners. There is a reason for that — it is a policy, not a blueprint or roadmap. Some went as far as using the apparent “vagueness” of the policy to accuse the government of corruption and other immoral principles that we have been working hard to address over the last few years. In a time where anyone can be a journalist, I believe the ethics of journalism must take priority in guiding the editorial decisions. Speculations, if at all necessary, must be based on facts. I am aware that as this piece hits the stands, this country is in the midst of wondering about the direction of our future governance. However, the civil service’s stand is simple — it is business as usual. With that said, please contact me at email@example.com should you require any clarification on the ideas, directions or strategies in the NAP2020, or provide more depth to your story angles. There are always two sides to a story and we are ready to explain our perspective on any issue or answer the tough questions.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii).