As competition in Southeast Asia heats up, Malaysia is aiming for a bigger piece of the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, especially after Tesla announced plans to create a regional headquarters there. Anwar Ibrahim, the prime minister of Malaysia, said in an exclusive interview that the country has prioritized EV. As the first transaction under Malaysia’s Battery Electric Vehicle Global Leaders strategy, Tesla’s move significantly strengthens Southeast Asia’s position in the EV supply chain.
The deal enables Tesla to market its electric vehicles produced in Shanghai directly in Malaysia without the need for import taxes or middlemen markups. Additionally, Tesla will establish a regional office and service facility in Selangor, staffed by highly skilled specialists and outfitted with cutting-edge diagnostic equipment. The business intends to set up a network of charging stations in significant urban centers, beginning in Kuala Lumpur’s central business district.
Additional EV investments are welcome in Malaysia, particularly those from Chinese automakers. The country sees foreign investments like Tesla’s as complementary, helping numerous domestic industries.
One noteworthy feature of the Tesla agreement is that it is exempt from Malaysia’s Bumiputera policy, which requires that at least 30% of the equity in foreign businesses be owned by native populations. According to Anwar, Tesla’s investment is just as advantageous as following the equity requirement.
Incentives for foreign investments have been provided in Malaysia, particularly in the production of batteries and EVs. As part of these efforts, the government emphasizes the significance of technology transfer and training.
Although Malaysia might not set up a full EV assembly line right away, it is ready to produce EV batteries and is positioned to offer EV batteries locally.
Neighboring Malaysia promotes a spirit of collaboration and complementarity with Indonesia rather than ferocious competition, despite the fact that Indonesia has been seeking agreements with Tesla for its EV ambitions.
The growing significance of Southeast Asia in the global EV industry is highlighted by Malaysia’s efforts to increase its position in the supply chain for electric vehicles and Tesla’s arrival into the region.