COMMENT | One of the main contentions about the implementation of the Approved Permit (AP) policy in the past has been allegations that these APs were given to a small number of well-connected individuals and companies, which then quickly sold the APs to other parties for a quick profit. These allegations led many people to ask for the abolition of the AP policy.
In our Pakatan Harapan government, we are committed to ensuring that only genuine bumiputera entrepreneurs are able to obtain these APs.
In September 2018, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned those who sell their APs for a quick profit will find their permits cancelled.
The International Trade and Industry Ministry's (Miti) statement on March 13 outlined some of the stringent conditions by which existing AP holders, as well as new applicants, were evaluated before their APs were issued in 2019.
These companies must:
Once a company has been allocated an Open AP, it must comply with the additional requirements:
As a result of these stringent application and approval conditions, only 164 out of 282 applications were approved by Miti.
Out of these 164 approved applicants, 128 are existing companies and 36 are companies which previously did not receive any APs (termed as “new” companies).
Out of 109 applications by new companies, only 36 were approved.
Although there are no longer hard caps on the number of APs which can be issued in one year, there are definitely hard caps on the maximum number of APs which a company can obtain.
For companies which have not obtained APs in the past and which have a paid-up capital of RM1 million, the maximum number of APs for passenger cars which can be obtained is 60 per company.
For existing players with a paid-up capital of RM2 million, RM3 million and RM4 million, the maximum number of APs which can be obtained by these companies are 120, 180, and 240 respectively (see Table 1 below).
The rationale of capping the number of APs for companies which have not received APs in the past is to ensure that these companies have the financial and sales capability to sell up to 60 vehicles first in their first year before they can increase their quota of APs in the future, based on their paid-up capital.
The total number of Open APs issued has not breached the 30,000 mark over the past two years. They represent only about 4.3 percent and 5.3 percent of the total passenger car sales in 2017 and 2018 respectively (see Table 2 below).
Open APs are issued mostly for the higher end of the consumer market segment. They have no effect on the car prices for the mass market.
The volumes of the cars brought in via Open APs are very small when disaggregated into the various brands. The low volumes don’t provide enough economies of scale for them to be assembled in Malaysia.
In fact, the large majority of passenger cars on the road, including the foreign brands, are manufactured and/or assembled in Malaysia.
Honda, for example, has a local plant in Pegoh, Malacca]; Toyota has a new manufacturing plant in Bukit Raja, Klang; Tan Chong Motors assembles the current Nissan models in its plant in Serendah, near Rawang.
Even Mercedes-Benz has a local plant in Pekan, Pahang, assembling plug-in hybrids while BMW has a local plant in Kulim, Kedah.
With the localisation of the domestic passenger car market, APs are no longer as commercially lucrative as they once were.
Car sales in Malaysia, and globally, have slowed down and the accumulation of the stock of imported luxury cars have dampened the local market conditions.
With a RM10,000 price tag per AP, plus the investment needed for showrooms and paid-up capital, only genuine and competitive players can remain in the market.
Miti continues to push for greater transparency in our AP policy. The full list of all 164 AP holders has been published in Miti’s website.
We encourage the public to report any information regarding AP holders who may be attempting to sell their APs to third parties to [email protected] or to call the hotline (603) 6208 4970 or to write to "Director, Export and Import Control Section, Miti, Level 7, Menara Miti, No 7, Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia".
ONG KIAN MING is the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.