The National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2020 will be launched on Feb 21st. It has been a long, arduous process of research, consultations and reviews to spur a new phase for our industry ecosystem that will benefit businesses and create quality jobs over the long term.
We are preparing the final touches for the momentous occasion to ensure the correct frame of thought is delivered to all stakeholders so that we can move towards shaping the next phase of our adventure in the automotive and mobility industry.
While I hope this column has educated readers about the future we will be shaping when the NAP 2020 is announced, I would like to write about our frame of mind as we digest its contents. For the next 10 days before the launch, the policy’s structure and framework do not matter. What matters is whether or not we are ready to face such a future.
The future of mobility is real. It is progressing rapidly and we must keep up. The NAP 2020 is designed to ensure that we progress with the path of least resistance. We admit it is difficult. Nobody says becoming a leader in something great is easy. The question is, how do we get into the right frame of mind about this policy?
Firstly, it is important to look at the history of the policy itself. From the first national car almost four decades ago, the goal was simple — to allow for meaningful participation of Malaysians in the high technology sector. The NAPs in 2006, 2009 and 2014 were designed to adjust to new trends.
Why do we need a policy revision now? In a nutshell, the NAP 2014 put us in a great position to organise ourselves as an industry and nation. The direction towards energy-efficient vehicles created a common target for vehicle manufacturers and parts and component suppliers.
Better energy consumption became a culture. More local suppliers achieved higher technology levels and increased exports, and Malaysian engineers developed advanced technologies that allowed people to buy safer entry-level cars. However, trends have changed. Connected mobility is now a global megatrend.
While we had focused on enhancing our capacities in developing and manufacturing advanced internal combustion vehicles, we must now look at new forms of powertrains and driving technologies.
The NAP 2014 also put us in a position to learn new things, know our gaps and address issues that rose from our formulation. Therefore, as we await the NAP 2020, we must open our minds to look at the bigger picture.
The NAP has never been about cheaper cars and total industry volume alone. It is about driving our nation towards greater heights in industrialisation, technology, and engineering. It is about growing technology not by just simple procurement, but through the building of an ecosystem that allows indigenous technologies to grow from within and reaching global markets through a well-crafted direction and vision.
Simply put, if we achieve these goals, the results will be more affordable cars and better vehicle sales. The benefits are a product of the goals set forth in the NAP, rather than a goal in itself. As we count down to the NAP 2020 announcement, I would like our readers to base this piece as a foundation for your outlook for the future.
Let us look at the world around us, read our current progress and get ourselves in the frame of mind that the only thing constant in this world is change. The NAP 2020 will then be about how that change can be done, together as a nation.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii)