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Malaysia may place curbs on car imports as it reviews national automotive policy: Mahathir

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Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday that while the government agrees with the practice of free trade, other countries worldwide impose conditions for their own markets.

[KUALA LUMPUR]  The Malaysian government is reviewing the national automotive policy, which may include imposing conditions on the import of foreign vehicles.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday that while the government agrees with the practice of free trade, other countries worldwide impose conditions for their own markets.

He cited the example of European emission standards, which defines acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles.

"But here, any cars produced, even those made out of Milo tins can enter the Malaysian market, so it is very open.

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"Any car producer can enter our markets - that is the problem we are facing.

"As such we are looking into imposing certain conditions to disallow cars from (arbitrarily) entering local markets."

This will allow brands like Proton to capture the local market, said Dr Mahathir, answering a question from Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong who asked for elaboration on the government's plan on a third national car project.

Dr Mahathir said the national automotive policy would also be reviewed to ensure that local national car manufacturers like Proton and Perodua remain competitive.

He also said that the automotive industry is vital for a country's growth and that a new national car project would help boost Malaysia's engineering capabilities.

In June, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia should have a third national car, a suggestion which was met with some criticism from both politicians and the rakyat.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK