PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has urged the government to reconsider its plans to launch the country's third national car project by 2020.
In a statement, Rafizi said the matter should undergo deliberation at the Pakatan Harapan presidential council before being brought before cabinet.
"I am worried that the federal government wants to press on with the project amid clear voices of discontent. Harapan was chosen on a platform of reducing the people's burden.
"While the rakyat is still giving Harapan the opportunity to fulfil the promises in its manifesto – although not all can be reached in 100 days – implementing something so unpopular and so in contrast with Harapan's pledges will only give rise to cynicism," he said.
Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof announced on Saturday that the government is set to launch the national car project 3.0 by 2020, as envisioned by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Redzuan had said that the government believes that the move could revitalise the national automotive industry.
'Nowhere in the manifesto'
Rafizi also reminded that the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat had in its 13th general election manifesto, or Buku Jingga, pledged to abolish the "burdensome" excise duty on vehicles.
"Excise duties were connected with efforts to protect national cars but ended up making cars more expensive than in other countries.
"The basic platform to abolish the excise duty, to bring down car prices, has not changed since Harapan was conceived.
"Nowhere in Harapan's campaign, nor in its manifesto, does it mention the setting up of a third national car project," said the former Pandan MP.
Therefore, Rafizi urged the government to take into account several considerations before setting up the project.
"I am of the opinion that a third national car project will have a huge financial impact on the people.
"We need to look into how much public funds will be used, which government body or agency will be tasked to handle this project, and whether the federal government intends to abolish the excise duty to bring down vehicle prices once the third national car project is launched," he said.
Talk to Harapan
Rafizi also said that the proposed project should be discussed in the Harapan presidential council first since it involves the coalition's policies.
"While I appreciate the cabinet's prerogative to make decisions, matters that concern policies (of Harapan), should be looked at exhaustively at the Harapan level, before it can be implemented by the cabinet.
"(I'm aware) my opinion will court various controversies.
"I'm not that worried about external or internal attacks when I voice out on issues concerning the rakyat's welfare, as I know that the Harapan administration is open to constructive views and criticisms."
Mahathir reaffirmed his aspiration of building the third national car project during his visit to Japan in June after Harapan seized federal power.
He was reported as saying that the government was looking at building the third national car after Proton and Perodua.