Tun M’s Lifetime Automotive Achievement Award means a lot for automotive fraternityPOSTED BY Yamin Vong ON 11 December 2018
I willingly confess that presenting the Lifetime Automotive Achievement to Tun Dr Mahathir, our Prime Minister, at the Car of the Year Awards night last week was the high point of my automotive journalistic career.
It was a great honour that Tun Dr Mahathir accepted the award because only about a month ago, he had been conferred Japan’s highest award: the “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers” by no less than Emperor Akihito of Japan.
We are a group of journalists and professionals who have been conducting the annual Car of the Year (COTY) Awards since 2002.
In our final two COTY meetings for this year, we discussed the automotive events of 2018 and we came to the unanimous view that the good Doctor, now that he had come back as the Prime Minister, must be recognized for his energizing of Malaysians around the national car and the automotive industry.
We agreed that he was the single most important person driving the Malaysian passion for cars and that he continued to add new ideas and create space for discussion in the new world of electrification of cars and even autonomous cars.
Now, how to extend the invitation to the great man himself? We had to seek the advice and help of old friends and bosses of the media fraternity to get our letter conducted safely to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Even then, his schedule was packed to two months ahead and it would be Christmas before there was a slot in his schedule. There were also unexpected matters, foreign or domestic, that could throw the whole schedule awry.
With much help from his office, Tun M made it to the event and honoured us in the automotive fraternity in accepting our Car of the Year Lifetime Automotive Achievement: the first and only such award.
Thanks to Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad and trust that if the government maintains a level playing field where electric vehicles and the industry is nurtured, that entrepreneurial Malaysians will find a way to exist and thrive in almost any disruptive environment.