Let Proton chart its path
FocusM | 24 Aug 2018 00:30
The news that Proton Holdings Bhd is jointly setting up a production facility in China with its Chinese partner Zhejiang Geely is welcome as it will greatly expand the market for the carmaker.
The big surprise is that the news was announced during Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent visit to China. He even witnessed the signing of the agreement between the two parties.
It was not too long ago that Dr Mahathir had criticised the previous government for allowing Proton – which he started – to be taken over by the Chinese. “Now it’s been sold to a Chinese company, so it is no longer a national car. Our ambition is to start another national car, perhaps with some help from Southeast Asia,” he had lamented.
But the fact is, Proton has not been sold to the Chinese and is still Malaysian. The Chinese took a 49.9% stake in the carmaker while DRB-Hicom Bhd has 50.1%. Yes, it has a Chinese national as CEO but surely that is not unusual given that Geely has invested substantially in Proton. DRB is a company controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mohktar Albukhary.
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