YAB DATO’ SRI NAJIB TUN RAZAK
AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE NEW PEUGEOT 308
THE GRAND BALLROOM, SHANGRI-LA HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR
29TH JANUARY 2009
Yang Berhormat Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri,
Timbalan Menteri Luar Negeri,
Encik SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin,
Executive Chairman and CEO, Nasim Sdn Bhd,
Mr. Francois Poirier,
Director, Asia Pacific and Africa ,Automobiles Peugeot,
Y.Bhg Dato’ Hj SM Shalahuddin SM Amin,
President Naza Group of Companies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Assalamualaikum warahmatullahiwabarakatuh and a very good morning.
1. I would like to thank the Naza Group for inviting me to officiate the launch of the new Peugeot model. The launch of this model in Malaysia at a time when the auto industry worldwide is going through challenging times speaks volumes of the confidence Naza and its partners have of the potential of the domestic economy. It is a vote of confidence in the Malaysian economy at a time when the global economy and the car industry are facing great challenges.
2. The automotive industry world wide has contracted some 40 per cent. The US majors – GM, Ford and Chrysler — as well as those in Japan have turned to their governments for help. Many of them face an uncertain future.
3. The Malaysian car industry, relatively young in comparison to that in the more developed markets, registered a very healthy growth last year. Total sales of 548,115 in 2008 were the second highest ever recorded by the Malaysian auto industry and represent a 12.5 per cent increase over 2007.
4. The global financial crisis, however, is affecting consumer sentiment for big ticket items, including cars. The global economic and financial environment is gloomy. The major developed economies are in recession and many in the region have revised their GDP growth figures downwards. The IMF has also revised global GDP growth for this year down to 0.5 per cent per cent from its forecast of 2.2 per cent in November last year. While the Malaysian economic fundamentals remain strong, downturn in the major markets will affect Malaysia’s exports and the broader economy. We are not in denial and we are monitoring the situation very closely.
5. To cushion the adverse impact, we have instituted pre-emptive monetary and fiscal policies. While the government implements various pre-emptive measures, it is equally important that the private sector steps up to the plate and plays its role to ensure continued growth and employment in the country.
6. The lowering of the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 75 basis points to 2.50 per cent last month and the reduction of Statutory Reserve Requirement (SRR) from 3.5 per cent to 2 per cent, effective 1 February 2009, are designed to provide a more supportive monetary environment for the domestic economy. The resulting lower interest rates will also benefit car buyers and the industry.
7. The Small and medium enterprises, an important segment of the economy, are given an additional boost with the RM2 billion SME Assistance Guarantee Scheme (SAGS). This facility is to ensure that viable SMEs adversely impacted by the current economic environment have access to adequate financing and at a lower cost.
8. With further deterioration in the global economic situation, the government is considering additional measures. And in the meantime, RM5 billion or more than 70 per cent of the RM7 billion stimulus package unveiled in November has been released to the various ministries and government agencies. The remaining RM2 billion will be released soon. Many of the measures in this first package will also benefit the car industry and many of the small vendors.
9. The car industry in Malaysia is still in its infancy. Even so, the Naza Group is no stranger to the Malaysian market having started in 1975 with just one outlet. Today it has 58, and that does not include the dealers’ outlets, and employs 4,000 people. Its various business activities benefit vendors who in turn have a staff of 8,000.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
10. I am happy to note that Naza has forged strategic associations with many leading international automotive companies. Such associations yield many benefits, help with the transfer of valuable technology to further develop the local automotive industry and enhance local expertise and skills.
11. I understand that the alliance with Automobiles Peugeot brings with it safe, efficient and appealing cars to Malaysia that have won awards worldwide. Peugeot is a well known and respected brand globally. The company is known for state of the art technology in the automobile industry including high emission standards. Its engines are world class and highly fuel efficient.
12. I hope that technology transfer will be realised not only by Nasim Sdn Bhd through its strategic alliance with Peugeot but throughout the whole vendor chain. Effective technology transfer is necessary for the automotive industry in Malaysia to develop further, move up the value chain and be competitive globally. With increased emphasis on the protection of the environment, production of fuel efficient engines with a low environmental impact and the use of recyclable materials should be studied and incorporated in the production of cars.
13. I am pleased to note that NAZA is stepping up its collaboration with various parties. It is a step in the right direction as such collaboration is mutually beneficial. And with the close rapport that the Malaysian and French governments enjoy, I am confident that this venture will yield beneficial results for both parties.
14. Today, Malaysian consumers are much more demanding and discerning. The advent of the Internet age has ushered in an environment where the information flows freely from one end of the world to the other instantaneously. Consumers are fully aware of what is available, they demand high standards and value for money. Therefore, it is important that producers and manufacturers reflect the tastes and meet the higher standards demanded by consumers.
15. Encik Nasarudin spoke of the importance of after sales. This is very important not only in the automobile industry but most businesses. The key to repeat and constant demand of a product is the quality of follow up and after sales service. Selling a car or a product is only the first step. It is the quality of the after sales service and follow up that determines continued businesses with repeat and new customers over the longer term. It is the difference between a satisfied customer and a dissatisfied and an angry customer. It is also the difference between a runaway success of a product and one that does not get off the shelves or the show rooms.
16. Training of staff is an important component of business. It is a means to enhance capacity, competitiveness and improving efficiency. The industry must play its role and manufacturers must complement the government’s efforts in enhancing human capital development and skills. This is essential for the country to move up the ladder of development. The government under the stimulus package unveiled in November, allocated RM300 million for a fund to implement skills training programme to meet employers’ and industries’ requirements.
17. The Naza Group has its own training academy in Kedah which is well placed to cater to the demands of a trained workforce for its own needs and those of the industry. More industries and factories should emphasise training and constantly upgrade the skills of their workforce. This is essential, especially in the current economic environment, for Malaysia to improve its competitiveness and for the industries to enhance their efficiency.
18. It is through close collaboration and cooperation of all parties concerned – public and private sector — combined with strong fundamentals and efficient and competitive labour force that we, as a nation, will be able to meet the challenges.
19. We have just ushered in the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Ox. The qualities of the Ox – tenacity, hard work, perseverance and pragmatism – should be emulated for us to ride through the challenges. The year 2009 will test our resolve and abilities. But we are ready to collectively face them. We are determined to maintain a conducive environment to enhance growth for the betterment of all
20. On this note, may I wish Encik Nasarudin and his team the very best and it is with great pleasure that I now launch the new PEUGEOUT 308.