HULU SELANGOR - Local car manufacturers must step up production should they want to continue operating and compete once the country's automotive industry is further liberalised, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Manufacturers, he said, should also assist their component suppliers via research and development activities in order for them to remain competitive and meet the needs of both the local and global markets.
"The Government has always thrown its support behind the needs of the automotive industry due to the crucial role it plays in generating the economy.
"However, we cannot run away from the challenges of globalisation and with a highly competitive market, it is important that the manufacturers get ready to face stiff competition," said Muhyiddin when launching Perodua's "S Series" variant in conjunction with the car manufacturer's 20th anniversary here yesterday.
"They must not only be great for the domestic market but have to also make a name for themselves in the international arena."
Earlier, Muhyiddin laid the foundation for Perodua's new RM790 million (S$317 million) plant, which is expected to be operational by mid-2014.
The Government, he said, had made detailed planning to ensure that any change as a result of market liberalisation was systematic to avoid a negative impact on the automotive industry.
The price reduction of between 3 per cent and 5 per cent or between RM2,200 and RM17,000 for new cars in the fourth quarter of last year was the start of the Government's long-term plan to lower car prices, he pointed out.
Malaysia, said Muhyiddin, had also announced its plans to be a manufacturer of energy efficient vehicles (EEV), adding that car manufacturers could play their role by assisting the support industry to develop components and parts complementing such vehicles.
In congratulating Perodua on its 20th year in business, he said its achievements were the pride of Malaysia and lauded its staff for their hard work, passion and dedication.
Later in Rawang, Muhyiddin said public confidence in Barisan Nasional was increasing in Selangor, adding that its "blue wave" campaign had picked up momentum nationwide.
"That's why Pakatan Rakyat leaders are shivering now and have claimed that should they lose, it is because the Election Commission is playing dirty," said Muhyiddin after a meet-the-people gathering yesterday.