Japan's Nikkei Asia says Tesla's move in Malaysia is a score for PM Anwar over Indonesia's Jokowi
CY Foong · Aug 1, 2023 05:30 PM
“A big embarrassment for Indonesia” and “Indonesian President… to feel jealous” are some of the comments mentioned in a recent opinion piece published by Japan’s Nikkei Asia in regard to Tesla’s launch in Malaysia.
Indonesia’s government has already courted the American EV maker for years to invest in the archipelago but it seems that Malaysia somehow won according to the opinion piece by A. Lin Neumann, managing director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia.
Tesla has set up a regional headquarters in Cyberjaya and under its deal with Malaysia, the Chinese-made EVs will be sold directly to Malaysian consumers without any middleman’s markup and free of tariffs.
The American EV maker is also the first successful applicant for support under Malaysia’s Battery Electric Vehicle Global Leaders initiative. The plan was launched in March as part of the Malaysian government’s push to turn the country into a regional EV hub.
Despite the Indonesian government making a headstart in attracting Elon Musk and co to invest in the archipelago, little inroads have been done in the country in terms of offering EV infrastructure, the opinion read. Besides, Indonesia imposes a 50% import tariff on CBU EVs to encourage local manufacturing investment instead of waiving the tax as Malaysia has done.
With this guarantee, Tesla is able to offer the Model Y with a starting price of below USD 50,000 which is a quarter of the retail price in Singapore. In Malaysia, the base Tesla Model Y starts from RM 199,000 (~USD 44,000) while in the city island, the same variant starts from SGD 132,620 (~USD 99,000) excluding COE.
The introduction of Tesla into Malaysia is said to also translate into a bigger job opportunity through building networks of service centres and charging points as well as being an important step toward better green credentials for the country.
Neumann also opined that Musk’s Malaysian deal could awaken Indonesia to the allure of its neighbour’s well-trained and tech-savvy workforce that has long drawn interest from high-end investors.
Tesla Regional Director Isabel Fan told the media that its plan in Malaysia is a response to “forward-looking policies” from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s government. PMX also held a call with the Tesla head honcho in early July.
Tesla’s investment into Malaysia also gives the Prime Minister an important economic success ahead of the upcoming state elections, reported Neumann. One advisor told him that “this should show that Anwar is serious about economic change.”