Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released a report stating that the flying car project received government funding of RM20 million despite being proclaimed as a private initiative. The project was announced by Datuk Seri Redzuan Mohd Yusof, the Entrepreneur Development Minister, and its funding to project developers Aerodyne Ventures Sdn Bhd (AVSB) was approved by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) via Venture Tech Sdn Bhd (VTSB).
The report stated that that the Minister had openly promoted AVSB since February this year, as though if it was a national project despite being a private initiative. Funding for the flying car was acknowledged by the Economic Affairs Ministry and were transferred to AVSB on 1 November 2019.
PAC finds that the government had not fully appraised the developers as to whether it had the financial capabilities, intellectual property rights, expertise, or capacity to execute the project, and that Redzuan had announced it too early without detailed planning or informing the Cabinet. The committee advises the Entrepreneur Development Ministry to have coordination and cooperation with other ministers, agencies, and departments in implementing any government programmes or projects before conducting any form of publicity.
PAC added that planning and research must be done thoroughly before a project is announced to the public as to not perceive a negative reception or become a matter that could be criticised. They then followed with a statement mentioning that there should be preparation and tabling of a complete Cabinet paper to get approvals on matters involving the rakyat.
Redzuan also claimed that AVSB would be using local technology to develop the vehicle, but PAC has found that the prototype would be built in Japan, where it had the ecosystem and facilities to undertake the development of the flying car. PAC also pointed out that currently there are no laws implemented in regards to monitoring and usage of flying car.
The committee suggests that VTSB to do more monitoring on AVSB’s spending as to ensure that the RM20 million investment is actually used for the purpose that it was approved for. PAC had also asked the National Audit Department to conduct an audit in the investment.
The flying car project made national headlines when it was first announced during LIMA 2019 which was held in Langkawi, and was speculated to have a prototype ready by October. This project is not to be confused with the EHang 216 passenger drone that also involved Redzuan, which had its test flight cancelled due to the lack of clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).