Dow Jones reports that sales of new motor vehicles in Malaysia rose 12.7% year on year in April. The Malaysian Automotive Association also said that May sales will also likely see an increase on year-ago levels.

The industry group said the delivery of new models to the market and improved consumer sentiment will boost sales in May.

"The wait-and-see attitude of potential car buyers has subsided," the association said in a statement. Early this year, many consumers opted to defer car purchases due to uncertainty regarding Malaysia's new taxation structure and import duties for cars, introduced Jan. 1.

Sales of non-national vehicles surged 54% in April to 12,282 units, while the domestic makers' sales were flat, leading to more share loss.

In January, the government reduced import duties for vehicles from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but imposed excise duties on all cars to offset lower revenue.

Malaysia has been given until 2005 to adopt other ASEAN members' plans, launched in 2003, to reduce passenger car import duties to 5% and below.

Malaysia has previously said it would impose duties of 20% next year from the current 70% to 190% for completely built-up ASEAN passenger car imports.