Earlier this year, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak visited Tesla’s factory in Fremont during an official trip in California. After his visit, Najib vowed that Malaysia will be the first country to receive the Model S in Southeast Asia.
Just a few months later, it looks like he was right.
When governments attempt to convince Tesla to expand in their country, they generally try through new EV incentive programs, but Najib showed that he was serious in a different way.
He ordered 100 Model S sedans to import in Malaysia for used by “Government-linked Companies” or GLC. That’s despite Tesla still having no presence in the country and therefore, it can’t support customers with service centres, charging infrastructures and internet coverage for navigation or software updates.
Yesterday, a Malaysian automotive news website, Paultan, reported that the first batch of Tesla vehicles has been shipped and it will soon arrive in the country.
The first batch reportedly consists of 10 Model S sedans with 9 Model S 70’s and 1 Model S P90D.
The Prime Minister made the new Tesla imports duty-exempt and he will make them available government companies through a leasing program.
The vehicle should arrive in time for the government to announced an expected electric vehicle plan on October 5. The rest of the 100 Model S sedans have been approved to be duty-exempt and with the help of the upcoming EV program, maybe it will encourage Tesla to expand in the market.