Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he did not approve a government agency’s investment in the new national car project. -- NSTP Archive

SEPANG: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he did not approve a government agency’s investment in the new national car project.

"I didn't approve it. But it has been done. Many government agencies, when they see something good that is about to take off, they think they should have a piece of the cake.

"DreamEDGE is doing many things and they seem capable (so) other government agencies would like to have a piece of the action," he said after attending Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s 21st anniversary celebration here today.

On Sunday, MCA president Wee Ka Siong questioned the government’s claim that the new national car project will not involve taxpayers' money.

He also disclosed that the car’s developer, DreamEDGE Sdn Bhd, received government funding through the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT).

MIGHT, which is owned by the government, has 100 per cent ownership of a company called Venturetech Sdn Bhd, which is DreamEDGE’s largest shareholder, Wee said in a Facebook post after the national car project was announced.

Dr Mahathir said that while the automobile industry was not doing too well, progress was being made by way of the third national car project.

“We are moving away from the normal petrol-based engines to hybrid and electric ones.

“We have to make that progress because if you want to have a third car, it should be capable of at least hybridisation.

“That is to say it should be driven by a battery but an engine must be put in, in order to recharge that battery, and that will take the car maybe 1,000 miles. So we're moving in that direction.”

He said that although Malaysians think there is no need for a third national car, the automotive industry, unlike aviation, was not a static one.

“Everything changes and progresses. If you don't keep up, you will be left behind. Our intention in introducing a third car is to stimulate the engineering industry.”