NAP: Have pity on poor car users

The Approved Permits (APs) saga, encompassing many episodes and the expression of views of many quarters, apparently has been concluded. The Government is expected to make an announcement soon on the new National Automatic Policy (NAP).

The automotive industry players must have by now given their views on NAP to the Government, but sad to say, there have been little or no views expressed by the general public on this important matter.

All said and done, the bottom line is that the new policy to be formulated must be equitable, not only for all the industry players involved with national cars, CKDs and CBUs but also for the car users as well.

Next to Singapore, the prices of cars in Malaysia are about the highest in the world! Why? Because of the high and double-layer tax i.e. import tax and customs excise duty.

Just for the record - the Malaysian per capita income is US$4,650 while that of South Korea is US$13,980. It is shocking that the Malaysian has to pay RM100,000 for a locally made Proton Perdana while the Korean only pays the equivalent of RM50,000 for a 2.0 Hyundai Sonata of the same engine capacity. The price of a Sonata in Malaysia is RM115,000, which is more than double of that in Korea.

It cannot be denied that the use of a car has become a necessity today in the Malaysian context. With the very high cost of a car coupled with increasing cost of fuel, the burden on car users is becoming too heavy for them to bear. More and more people, we were told, have no choice but to make sacrifices on food, living only on single-course meals, to balance their budget. Life is indeed hard for the Malaysian car users.

Therefore, in formulating the new NAP, if the Government does not want to subsidise further on fuel, serious consideration should be given to -

  • The reduction of customs excise duties an all cars whether made or assembled locally or imported and
  • The reduction of road tax or its total abolition to offset rising toll charges.

Only then, will there be any semblance of an equitable NAP for all Malaysians, manufacturers, assemblers and users alike. A policy heavily inclined towards the protection of national carmakers is very unfair to the millions of car users in Malaysia.


An edited version of the above was published in NST on 31/08/05. 2008