Listen to what the man said

You’d think the Minister would leave himself some wriggle room. 

But no, there was Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof in Parliament, stubbornly sticking to his story that the country could see its “flying car” take off by the end of the year. That’s a month and a half away. 

In Malaysia, there is only one vehicle with wheels and flies. It’s called a garbage truck. 

To Malaysians tired of Dr Mahathir’s near-delusional obsession with a “national car of our own,” this flying car idea seems like more garbage of the sort first trumpeted in 1984. Mr Redzuan should get real. 

If after more than 30 years in the business, we are still incapable of nurturing a genuine auto industry that can innovate, we should give up the ghost, stop throwing good money after bad and call it quits. 

Proton, Dr Mahathir’s brainchild and the country’s first national car, has been a monumental failure. Even with continued protection, it began bleeding because its models were of inferior quality and the company had to be delisted to prevent a national embarrassment. Only after China’s Geely bought into it in September, 2017, and took over its management, did its fortunes improve. 

A smart leader would have declared a Malaysian victory at this point and moved on.

But no, this administration is a glutton for punishment and has since announced plans for a third national car. It has promised, however, that no government funds will be involved in the venture. Unfortunately, no one believes it for a minute.

All this is, of course, separate and distinct from Mr Redzuan’s flying car. No one will be surprised to hear plans for a “car without wheels” next. I bet they’d work on it tirelessly too.  

Mr Redzuan was speaking in Parliament because Khairy Jamaluddin had asked him a question about the “ecosystem” for flying cars. Methinks he shouldn’t take the Rembau MP too seriously. Let’s face it, he really didn’t do anything remarkable when he was the Minister of Youth and Sport in the previous administration apart from bemoaning the fact that Malaysian youth rarely exercised. 

You could not say the same about YB Khairy and exercise: he was generally surrounded by dumbbells.

Indeed, the one thing that sticks in the memory about the MP was a videotaped conversation between him and the former Prime Minister which was widely distributed over social media just before the general election on May 9 last year.

Mr Khairy can be seen talking soberly to Mr Najib about the challenges posed by the election. He ticked off three points that he said the opposition coalition was using against the government. In order, it was “slander, incitement and false hopes”. 

I’m not sure about the “incitement” bit and there might be something to be said about the “false hopes”. If I remember right, however, most of the so-called “slander” revolved around 1MDB and its alleged pillages of government institutions. 

Earlier this week, Mr Najib was asked to file his defence against seven charges of abuse of power, breach of trust and money laundering all involving 1MDB, brought against him by Malaysia’s Attorney General. 

In response, Mr Khairy tweeted something to the effect that the ex-PM, and his former coffee shop mate, was still innocent until proven guilty. 

That is an obvious and quite unnecessary statement and one wonders why the Rembau MP felt compelled to issue it. 

Almost like saying that any car can be damaged. Like Mr Redzuan driving his car into a tree to show how a Mercedes bends.