| Azlan Othman |
THE Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, yesterday visited the GHK Auto Assembly Plant in Muara to have a look at its operations.
The Minister of Communications, together with the director of the Land Transport Department and its senior officials, was welcomed on arrival by the Managing Director of GHK Motors Sdn Bhd, Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Awang Goh King Chin.
Following a brief on the plant’s operations, the general manager accompanied the minister on a tour to view the facilities and locally fabricated products.
The setting up of the auto assembly plant came after the encouragement of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR), which wanted to prove that Brunei Darussalam is also capable of producing locally-assembled commercial vehicles such as refrigeration box trucks, aluminium box trucks, mountings for refuse collectors and tippers, just to name a few. Previously, vehicles of this nature used in the Sultanate were assembled in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Pehin Goh said that the auto assembly plant is part of the company’s effort to diversify its business aside from being a franchised motor distributor and MBA Insurance Agency. It initially began when two plots of land located at lot 13-17, Serasa Industrial Complex, were allocated for the project which began in 1998. The plant was officially opened on March 3, 2000 and was awarded an ISO-9001 in January 21, 2002.
Pehin Goh shared that technicians involved with fabrication works undergo specialised welding courses and that certificates of compliance were awarded upon completion of the course.
The auto assembly plant as part of the GHK Group of Companies also provides long-term servicing and repair contracts for vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Defence and other government departments. It also serves as the main workshop centre for the MBA Insurance Agency.
Pehin Goh noted that the commercial vehicle market share is about three per cent of total monthly average sales of 1,500 units and that despite this small volume of sales, used car companies are importing used commercial vehicles such as refrigeration trucks, refuse compactor trucks, aluminium box trucks as well as light and heavy duty trucks.
Considering that GHK Motors Sdn Bhd has invested almost five million dollars in infrastructure and equipment for the facility, imports of used commercial vehicles jeopardise this financial investment and is actually counterproductive to the MIPR objective of providing support for products to be prefabricated in the Sultanate, Pehin Goh concluded.