PARLIAMENT | The Perikatan Nasional government believes that "flying cars", super drones or air mobility vehicles have great future potential.
"Superdrones have great potential for both the local and international markets," said Entrepreneur Development Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in the Dewan Rakyat today.
The flying car was a pet project of Wan Junaidi's predecessor, Redzuan Mohd Yusoff, who is now a colleague in the PN cabinet.
Previously, while in the opposition, several members of the PN government had mocked the project.
Notably, Higher Education Minister Noraini Ahmad and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Shamsul Annuar Nasarah had heckled Redzuan, by shouting "Jetsons" and "Doraemon" when the latter was trying to explain why the government had backed the project.
Former deputy entrepreneur development Hatta Ramli (Harapan-Lumut) said Wan Junaidi's positive response showed that many of those critics from PN previously were clearly "dissenting voices"
Wan Junaidi (below) acknowledged that there were many "insults" when Redzuan had used the term "flying car".
"But 'flying car' is a generic name for air mobility vehicles, especially in the US," he added.
However, despite his enthusiasm for super drones, he said at the moment, the project in Malaysia was fully-backed by the private sector with the government focusing on helping entrepreneurs recover economically from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (PAS-Pasir Mas), in a supplementary question, then raised the matter of the RM20 million in public funds channelled to Aerodyne Ventures Sdn Bhd, the private firm behind the flying car project.
The Public Accounts Committee had found that RM20 million had been channelled to Aerodyne through VentureTech Sdn Bhd which is a subsidiary of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might), an entity under the Prime Minister’s Department.
"If it is being funded by the private sector, what happened to the RM20 million (from VentureTech)," Ahmad Fadhli asked.
For the record, Might had previously explained that RM20 million was not for the flying car project, but for a separate project to develop the third national car.
Responding to Ahmad Fadhli, Wan Junaidi said he did not know about the matter and could not say what happened to the money.
"But I am confident that the ministry that contributed is ensuring that it is being used and is monitoring the development progress," he added.
He also said that he encouraged more public funds to be channelled to the air mobility industry.