Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told Elon Musk he did not need to worry about nitty-gritty bureaucratic encumbrances if Tesla or Starlink entered the country.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been negotiating with several Asia over the past year, including India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia. Among the list of countries Musk has visited and dealt with, only Malaysia has recently finalized agreements with Tesla and SpaceX for Starlink services.
During an interview with Fortune, Prime Minister Anwar explained his ideology behind winning over Elon Musk.
“As much as I know about [Elon Musk], he knows a bit about me. So I said, ‘Look, I’ve suffered immensely in the past. Now, I’ve been given this opportunity. I’m in business. I want to effect the change, and I want to do whatever is necessary. I love my country, and I think it has huge potential and capacity.’
“And I made it clear and blunt to [Elon Musk] to say that he does not need to worry about all the other nitty-gritty, bureaucratic encumbrances that he may face in dealing with some other countries,” Malaysia’s Prime Minister said.
Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) approved Tesla’s application to import battery electric vehicles (BEV) in February 2023. By July 2023, Tesla launched the official Instagram page for its Malaysia branch and kicked off BEV sales in the country a few weeks later. Four days after Tesla started sales in Malaysia, it secured 10,000 Model Y orders.
Shortly after Tesla Malaysia launched BEV sales in the country, Prime Minister Anwar discussed the possibility of bringing SpaceX’s Starlink internet service into the country. A week after the Prime Minister brought up the idea, Malaysia issued a license to SpaceX for Starlink internet in remote areas of the country.