The International Trade and Industry Ministry has confirmed that 36 new companies have been made approved permit (AP) holders.
In a statement tonight, the ministry's Export and Import Control Section said this was carried out under the new Open AP policy, which commenced in January.
"Open AP is an import permit facility given by the ministry to qualified bumiputera companies to import reconditioned vehicles for sales in the domestic market.
"The companies are subjected to the conditions and rules imposed by the ministry.
"The objectives of this new policy are to promote the development of the new bumiputera entrepreneurs in the automotive industry, to ensure the policy continues to contribute to the country’s socioeconomic goals, and to create market competitiveness that will benefit consumers, especially in terms of the prices and services," read the statement.
Almost 300 companies submitted applications under the policy from May 23 to June 21, 2016, the ministry added.
"After an evaluation process, including an audit by a qualified independent auditor, the number of companies that qualified were 164, of which 128 are existing companies and 36 are new.
"The conditions that need to be fulfilled, among others are, the company must be 100 percent owned by bumiputera including in key management posts, has at least two years of experience in selling and distributing motor vehicles, and has a strong financial position."
No AP limit
According to the International Trade and Industry Ministry, there is no limit set to the overall number of APs to be released in a year under the Open AP policy.
Companies, it added, can apply for additional permits based on their sales performance.
"At the moment, most of the new companies are still not fully in operation, as they need to fulfil some technical requirements and be prepared for business operational matters."
Those involved in the Open AP process will be strictly monitored, the ministry noted, and those breaching the set conditions can have their approved and allocated APs withdrawn or suspended.
It cautioned that these companies – including board members and shareholders – can be blacklisted and be subject to legal action if regulations are violated. Last year, nine companies were blacklisted for not complying with the set conditions.
On Monday, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Kian Ming said his ministry would issue a statement on an allegation in an automotive portal that Putrajaya approved 38 new AP holders.
DS&F (Drive Safe and Fast) had said it learned of the approval of new AP holders from a long-established holder.
“He has confirmed to us there are now 38 new AP holders in Malaysia. Yes, the new government has granted 38 new car importers the 'right' to make 'easy' money.
“From what we have found out, most of the new 38 AP holders have already started talking to established AP holders to 'buy' their APs as they are not in the car business, and instead just want a fee of RM18,000 to RM22,000 for one (each) AP,” the portal said.