Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Wednesday proposed to the national utility company Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and Perusahaan Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sendirian Bhd (Perodua) to forge cooperation in introducing affordable electric vehicle (EV) charging rates for the people.

The prime minister said TNB is currently working to increase its energy production by using renewable energy sources and providing adequate EV charging stations, national news agency Bernama reported.

“At the same time, Perodua can use this opportunity by exploring new fields such as producing high-quality EVs that Malaysian families can afford,” he was quoted as saying.

“In fact, telecommunication companies like Telekom Malaysia (TM) can also work with these two parties to provide data package that will enable users to book EV charging sessions online,” he said when launching the all-new Perodua Alza at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Established in 1993 through a partnership with Japanese automobile manufacturer Daihatsu, Perodua is Malaysia’s second national car manufacturer. Focusing on compact cars, it has secured the largest share of the Malaysian automobile market for 16 years in a row from 2006 to 2021. Perodua is Malaysia’s first and biggest Energy-Efficient Vehicle (EEV) manufacturer, having produced and sold over a million EEVs to date, according to Perodua’s website.

Ismail Sabri said such smart cooperation should be forged as soon as possible to overcome the effects of climate change that had hit the world, and also to ensure sustainable development of the country.

He said the cooperation would also help achieve Malaysia’s target of being a carbon-neutral nation by as early as 2050.

Ismail Sabri said the government is willing to discuss with the private sector to ensure that all policies or initiatives introduced were in line with the country’s direction.

He said he had recently asked Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris located in the High-Tech Valley to develop a training and research center, to be known as the Centre of Advanced Automotive Research and Training (CAART).

The prime minister’s proposal also came after Chinese EV maker Great Wall Motor announced it has officially entered the Malaysian market earlier of the month. The company reportedly said its EV model, the Ora Good Cat, is slated to officially debut in Malaysia during the fourth quarter this year.

Great Wall Motor in 2020 took over the General Motors plant in neighbouring Thailand, Asia’s fourth-largest auto assembly and export hub.

The EV market has begun to take off in Southeast Asia as automakers plan to start production in at least three countries this year, Nikkei Asia reported last month. The region’s lack of charging networks, however, inhibits the widespread adoption of EVs, according to the report.

Shell invests in Malaysia’s smart mobility solution provider ParkEasy