Thursday, 30 November 2017

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY – Perodua’s success story built on support of NAP, Malaysians

Come January, the National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2014 will reached its fourth year of implementation.
From the onset, the common goal was straightforward – to create an ecosystem in which healthy competition could spur the creation of businesses and jobs that had the competitive instinct and capability to match customer expectation sustainably.
The policy was a product of all views. When it was announced, we knew it was not a path laced with roses. We knew there were thorns.  In order to stay competitive, changes had to be made by all. Investments were not only monetary, but they also included investment of mindset, culture and time.
In fact, those thorns grew sharper than expected. A year into the policy, significant gains were seen. Car prices became competitive, exports started growing and vehicle sales reached an all-time high, only to be hampered by an uncertain economy and shocks in foreign exchange rates.
Short-term setbacks  are part of the business cycle. The development of capabilities and the competitive spirit, however, cannot be eroded by economic fluctuations. For me, that progress is more important. Tough times never last, but tough people will last.
With this in mind, I am glad that this is one of few occasions I am not writing about what has to be done, but what has been done.
Last weekend, I took time out of my schedule to visit my mother in Nilai.
The ride was smooth, serene and most importantly, felt very safe. Most of all, this level of comfort was provided to me by the ingenuity and talent of the Malaysian people.
The new Perodua Myvi felt spacious, has luxurious handling and surpasses expectations.
It comes with a five-star New Car Assessment Programme for Southeast Asian Countries Rating and the variant I own comes with advanced safety assistance - pre-collision warning and braking, front departure alert and pedal mis-operation control.

These features are available in the entry-level model, bringing advanced safety features to all. It is also one of the most efficient vehicles in term of fuel consumption.
The Myvi is designed by Malaysian engineers. I can attest that it was no small feat and took years of hard work, innovation and an immense learning curve. It also required the company's leadership to take bold and ambitious risks in order to deliver.
Last but not least, it required the tremendous support of local vendors - 90 per cent of Myvi components were developed by Malaysian automotive businesses.
It all started with a policy - one that needed the buy-in and support of all. I am thankful that despite the challenges we faced, the spirit and support did not fade.
I hope all Malaysians can go to the nearest showroom and admire the hard work we have all put in to deliver a more competitive automotive industry.
Spend some time testing the car, feel its comfort and the advance features. It is not just a product, but a proud philosophy built by fellow countrymen.
All that is left to say is, my congratulations to Perodua, its vendors and Malaysia.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

ISLAMIC PROGRESS - Being competitive globally is the real struggle

The eighth to 13th centuries were known as the Islamic Golden Age. It was an age where Muslims dominated the pursuit of knowledge and technology that influenced the sciences and engineering in the modern age.
Modern science and mathematics are today based on the works of those such as Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, Ibn Muadh al-Jayyani, and Ibn al-Haytham.
Ibn Zhur, Ibn Sina and al-Zahrawi were among the early founders of breakthroughs in medicine. Let’s also not forget  those who built great Islamic cities, monuments and buildings that have become global icons today.
There is countless historical resource that narrates the Muslim role in the modern progress of technology and knowledge. However, it is discomforting that one of the core concepts that dictates the goals of Muslims – the word Jihad – has been hijacked by some claiming to be ambassadors of Islam, equating it to terror, tyranny and the progress of Muslims only through the sword and subjugation.
In its true sense, the struggle that is enshrined in Islamic Jihad is about the movement of civilisation towards achieving greatness. It need not mean a comparative greatness, as achieving global heights can come hand in hand with the success of others around us in the same space. It simply is the ideal that we are continuously moving forward in a direction that elevates us to a higher level throughout our co-existence.
This week, the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) is held in Kuching with the theme “Disruptive Change: Impact and Challenges”.
A key point of discussion was the digitalisation of the economy, particularly those of Islamic nations.
As one of the leading Muslim nations, ranked first Thomas Reuters’ Global Islamic Economy Indicator – we sit in a position of responsibility to bring back the peace-loving, technologically renowned civilisation we were once recognised for. Our digital transformation programmes speak for themselves – the e-commerce sector generated RM9.53 billion in revenue.
Our automotive industry is one of its kind in the Muslim world. We have two national carmakers capable of their own designs and development, employing more than 700,000 Muslims and non-muslims working towards the same goals.
Most importantly, the Muslim renaissance is all-inclusive, and is demonstrated through the list of speakers at the WIEF.
The demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution requires us to learn from all sources of information, regardless of background or faith, in line with the Prophet’s teaching of the borderless pursuit for knowledge.
Since the turn of the century, Muslims have struggled to defend our way of life. We have been subjected to labels of religious fanaticism, backwardness and barbarism.
We have something to prove to the world. We, too, are progressive and are willing to participate in the world economy on the same terms. We need not fear competition and our jihad is to be competitive. Let us prove that Islam is a religion of peace and it transcends time. Knowledge, technology and economic competitiveness is part of our life.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

2017 MALAYSIAN AUTOSHOW - A thank-you note to the automotive industry

The 2017 Malaysia Autoshow closed its curtains last Sunday, with more than 250,000 in attendance.
When the idea fully government-backed annual motorshow was mooted more than three years ago, little did I expect the show to grow so much within such a short span of time.
Recently, there is rising belief that vehicle showcases have lost its relevance. Some argue that the cost outweigh the benefits, while others argue that the amount of news coverage on the Internet is enough to provide necessary information to the public all year around.
To be frank - I truly beg to defer.
The global automotive industry is going through its most rapid revolution.
We've seen this before in an other industry when the mobile phone suddenly emerged as a lifestyle tool: hundreds of contraptions combined into a singular devide, addressing numerous daily problems from basic arithmetic to hailing taxis to get to the airport on time.
Cars now need to evolved in the same manner. Perhaps, when we were busy driving our own cars for the last century, it wasn't really an issue.
However, as self-driving cars are getting closer to commercial reality, we will surely start considering what we will do with all that free time!
Therefore, consumers of the Malaysian automotive market must also see - and experience - this change in trends. There is no better way than the autoshow, which allows such experience to ultimately turn into the initiation of the purchase decision, all in a single location.
It is a purchase decision with the ultimate array of choices for the consumer - a first-hand explanation by numerous brand dealers, followed by test drives along the 3km test track at the autoshow's new home on the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park ground in Serdang.
With that, I'd like to convey my heartfelt gratitude to all industry players. Thank you to the original equipment manufacturers who, on their own accord,put up a great display for visitors, from test drives of latest energy efficient vehicles models all the way to driving experiences on custom-built off-road tracks, which maximised the customer experience for visitors, particularly in the area of vehicle safety technology.
My deepest gratitude to the vendors and after-sales businesses who paved the way for a deeper appreciation for the industry, allowing Malaysians to understand how these sectors contribute tothe grander scheme of the industry - the biggest pool of high technology jobs and business opportunities in the industry.
A round of applause to those who made the Kuala lumpur International Automotive Symposium (KLIAS2017) and the SoundValley Festival 2017 a tremendous success.
They were amazing introductions to the autoshow, and brought together automotive experts and music lovers into a single locsation - a symbol of the ever-evolving culmination of motoring and lifestyle we expect to see in the future.
The autoshow would not have grown without the full support of the Malaysian government, through the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Thank you for your undivided attention to the autoshow for the last three years, and it is our pleasure to keep this momentum going with your continued support for the automotive industry.
To my team - the core talent who made all this happen - there are no words to describe how proud I am.
From our beginnings only seven years ago, to maintaining the passion, dedication and competitive spirit needed to organise the largest motor show the nation as seen, is truly remarkable.
Lastly, I thank The Almightly for His grace and blessing on all proceedings.
Congratulations to all who made the 2017 Malaysia Autoshow a huge success, and we hope to see you again next year!
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

MALAYSIA AUTOMOTIVE - Revving up local energy-efficiency culture

By the time you read this article, the Malaysia Autoshow 2017 would have opened its doors to visitors. The autoshow will run from today to November 12 2017 at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park in Serdang (MAEPS).
The event is in line with the National Automotive Policy 2014 (NAP2014) focus of making Malaysia the regional hub for Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEVs).
To become an EEV hub, it is not only about design and production, but also public buy into the idea of energy efficiency.
While the government has received tremendous support from original equipment manufacturing and industry players towards the EEV direction, it is important to also receive public buy-in and support for energy efficiency at all levels.
The Malaysia Autoshow 2017 will continue to spur growth of the culture of energy efficiency, through the various programmes and activities planned at the event. This year, the government is aiming to attract 250,000 visitors, and to maximise its potential, decided to move this year's show to the vast grounds of the MAEPS.
This year, 170 exhibitors will showcase a wide range of products and services from the various sectors that make up the automotive ecosystem.
Similar to any motor show of global standing, they are here to allow participants to experience the full breadth of the automotive economy.
Most importantly, the Malaysia Autoshow serves as a testament to the number of chioces given to consumers. It signifies the government's commitment to showcasing mobility solutions that are increasing in fuel efficiency, safety and security.
For this very reason, the activities at the Malaysia Autoshow is structured to allow Malaysians to gain first-hand experience of the mobility solutions on offer in the market.
Visitors have the opportunity to test-drive various models from different brands in the true spirit of consumer choice. The test drives take place on a 3km test route, so visitors can truly experience the models they are interested in.
Not of all of us, myself included, are privy to the experience of premium models. For a small fee, the Malaysia Automotive Autoshow provides this experience through models such as the Bentley Bentayga and Ford Mustang.
Adventurers seeking an extreme off-road experience can catch the 4x4 Taxi Ride.
Meanwhile, those with a taste for motorsports can try the Karting Slalom - which is open to visitors aged eight and above.
Running concurrently with the Autoshow is The Kuala Lumpur International Automotive Symposium (KLIAS 2017). KLIAS 2017 is an annual meeting in Malaysia of global automotive professionals and players.
This event also serves as a platform for market experts to gather and share the latest trends, technologies, advancements and policies in the industry.
For those seeking career opportunities, they can visit the KLIAS Career Fair on the last two days of the Malaysia Autoshow. Around 3,000 vacancies are available to those interested to join the industry.
Additionally, The SoundValley Festival will also be held in conjunction with the Malaysia Autoshow. SoundValley Festival 2017 will feature eleven local and internationally renowned bands from Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and England.
This combination will provide a lively ambience for all visitors to the Malaysia Autoshow 2017
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute

Thursday, 2 November 2017

FEDERAL SPENDING - Vital to continue funding long-term development goals

The government's attitude towards federal spending has changed significantly over last few years.
Firstly, there was transformation in the way government revenue was generated through the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in 2015.
Despite numerous polemics, it is one of the lowest rates for value-added tax in the world, with a high number of zero-rated essential goods and services.
Compared to the previous Sales and Services Tax, revenue increase more than twofold. This increase was due to the introduction of a tax model that allowed for a broader tax collection base, reducing loopholes through more accurate tax reporting and improved measures to combat tax evasion.
Secondly, the age-old subsidy model gradually evolved to allow better targeting of those who really needed them. Along with fuel subsidy restructuring, the government introduced numerous cash returns to the bottom 40 per cent household income group.
However, the impact of this additional government revenue was offset by the appreciation of the US dollar against the ringgit in 2015. It was clear that the nation was highly dependent on imports and the domestic economy, and higher value economies needed to be generated that spurred import substitution.
To add salt to the wound, the drastic drop in oil prices further offset government revenue.
It is therefore significant that a large portion of the 2018 Budget continues the allocation for long-term development goals, with key focus on digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and national transformation by 2050.
For example, RM46 billion, or 16 per cent of the budget, has been allocated for development expenditure. Education received RM61 billion, or 21  per cent, which is much higher compared with countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, which ranges between two and 17.6 per cent. Ten per cent of the 2018 Budget goes to healthcare, examplifying our world-class public healthcare system.
Naturally, the benefits of the above do not manifest themselves immediately. It is also rare to be excited about benefits that will come in the future. Not many say they are excited about going to school, but know they must go in order to secure a future of high value. Long-term planning is never sexy. Yet, without it, our upward mobility and competitive edge would definitely be lost.
This year's budget will allow more development enhancement within the automotive industry, in line with Malaysia Automotive Institute's (MAI) four pillars - job creation, career enhancement, business opportunities and business enhancement.
Next year, MAI aims to create 5,000 semi-skilled jobs in line with Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Another 1,730 skilled jobs will be created through MAI's career enhancement programmes focusing on digital engineering, quality management and advanced process design.
More than 300 parts and components manufacturing will undergo enhancement in line with Industry 4.0 in key areas of product design, smart manufacturing and automation capabilities. Futhermore, 1,000 automotive workshops will be enhancement to boost the performance of the after-sales sector.
These programme and the continuation of the National Automotive Policy are geared towards further improving import substitution and exports. Next year, we are aiming to increase localisation to RM11 billion from RM9.5 billion this year, and exports of automotive products to RM13 billion from RM12 billion.
November is that time when businesses start detailing their internal budgets, and it is also when we look at ways to enhance our careers for next year. I invite you to speak to us on further enhancing ourselves to brave the new frontiers of 2018. Speak to us now, and we can get started immediately.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.