Malaysia will on Friday unveil a new structure of automobile tariffs in line with regional trade rules, although the government says the new policy will not result in lower car prices.

Reuters noted that many Malaysians have delayed purchases in anticipation of the changes, as the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) rules require their country to cut tariffs from January 1 on cars imported from fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

But Malaysia reportedly has said car prices will not drop next year, because it will impose other measures, such as excise duties, to make up for the cuts in tariffs, which contribute about 8 to 9% of government revenue.

Malaysia will slash the tariff to 20% from as much as 190%, and cut it further in 2008, to 5% or less, Reuters said.

The cut was to have been made in 2003, but Malaysia sought a two-year extension until January 2005, to help protect its own car maker, Proton, the news agency noted.