ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Govt says ‘national car’ agreement is private business matter
Indonesia: The government has insisted that the so-called national car project to be jointly implemented by Malaysia’s automaker Proton and Indonesia’s PT Adiperkasa Citra Lestari has nothing to do with it.
In a stark statement, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo reiterated that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the two parties last week was purely a business arrangement.
“The MoU is a business-to-business arrangement and it is also at a very early stage; not to mention the fact that matters related to the feasibility study have yet to be done,” Jokowi said shortly after midnight on Tuesday at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta upon his return from an official tour of three Southeast Asian neighbors.
Although he refused to explain the details of the deal, Jokowi suggested that it was not about “development and manufacturing an Indonesian national car” as clearly stated in Proton’s website.
“[I] haven’t thought about it [the possibility of Proton involvement in the national car project]. But clearly, if it is about the national car, the brand and the principal should be Indonesian,” he said.
“If [we are] speaking about a national car, of course, I will talk about the Esemka [a locally assembled car],” said Jokowi referring to the national car project he once promoted during his tenure as Surakarta mayor back in 2012. However, he did not elaborate on the Esemka project, the status of which remains unclear.
Jokowi said his presence at the recent MoU signing in Malaysia was merely at the invitation of Proton chairman Mahathir Mohamad and was also attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Jokowi said AM Hendropriyono, the CEO of Adiperkasa, was not a part of the presidential delegation that witnessed the MoU signing in Malaysia late last week.
Meanwhile, Industry Ministry acting director general for high-technology priority industry Panggah Susanto said on Tuesday that, learning from past experience, Indonesia would not offer discriminatory incentives to a specific party.
“We may give [general] incentives [to the industry], but they should not be discriminatory since such measures could backfire,” he said.
In 1993, the government launched a national car program and exempted import duty and sales tax for vehicles and its components, which benefited PT Timor Putra Nasional, partly owned by late former president Soeharto’s son, Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra, and South Korean car manufacturer Kia Motors.
Following legal challenges from the EU, Japan and the US the World Trade Organization (WTO) decided the facilities accorded to the Korean imports breached its regulations.
Panggah added that as of yet, Hendropriyono, the former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief, had not reported the Proton-Adiperkasa project to his office.
Generally an automaker applies for a business permit with the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) and attaches the results of a feasibility study. Later it requests a type-examination and an import registration number if it sources the car or components overseas.
Separately, Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo) chairman Sudirman Maman Rusdi said the business group had no knowledge of the car project and did not want to comment before the definition of the car clear.
“If the government issues a new regulation regarding a national car project, we hope it will engage us in talks and ask for our input,” he said.
He stressed that the government should comply with WTO rules when launching a national car program. - See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/02/11/govt-says-national-car-agreement-private-business-matter.html#sthash.PXkNhe8q.dpuf
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