In the process of developing the National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP2020), the common question asked by stakeholders is—are we truly ready to develop autonomous vehicles?
However, the answer is irrelevant as we don’t have a choice. If the world is changing, we must find ways to change with it. In my previous article, I addressed the frame of mind we need to put ourselves into before we open ourselves to an admittedly deep and complex policy.
Throughout the development of NAP2020 (which took a few years), the development team realised that the revelation of the policy could not be done in one sitting, but instead required a longer period of comprehension so that it could be fully appreciated.
It is for this reason that we have been working with our policy development, communications and implementation teams within the International Trade and Industry Ministry and relevant agencies to ensure a full engagement with NAP2020 stakeholders to make sure that its directions and strategies benefit Malaysian businesses and the public.
We agreed to take difficult issues head-on, address the concerns of stakeholders, be it for the short- or long-term. We realised that while we had little choice but move along with the world’s rapidly changing industrial and technological landscape, it was important that we grow, change and discuss difficult issues together towards an intelligent consensus that resulted in new paradigm shifts.
The first thing we did was having new communication platforms to ensure a wider reach was cast and that all voices could be heard. For example, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking announced the development of the “Friends of MITI” project, a one-stop platform to understand the nuances of participation in the economy and for working together to develop industrial networks that benefit all.
This year, the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics & IoT Institute (MARii) has revamped its website to be more feedback-based, and we have also launched our new podcast, Plug-in with MARii, to provide a voice and platform for businesses, thought leaders, and automotive enthusiasts to share their thoughts with the world.
We are fortunate to have a strong media community that has a keen interest and specialisation in the automotive sector, which are strong signals that Malaysians are demanding better content and knowledge on technology. However, the availability of these channels is meaningless if we choose to indulge in a narrow list of bread and butter issues as they limit our ability to achieve further foresight into the real benefits that can be achieved over the long term. Issues such as car prices, approved permits and vehicle scrap policies are important, but they are topical and are addressable on a case-to-case basis.
NAP2020 takes into account these issues. However, it also takes a longer-term outlook of each of these factors in lieu of their impact in our pursuit to achieve global competitiveness. Talking about the future is boring as itis in our nature to want to see immediate results of the decisions we made today. Unfortunately, it is these boring things that, if not addressed today, will impact us in a big way at some point in the future.
Tomorrow, you will catch a glimpse of this future. It is not a choice we can make, as the world will not wait for us if we decide to miss the bus (no pun intended). All we need to do is embrace this reality. The steps we take after that are merely a matter of ironing out our differences.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii).