Only the people can help Proton, not gov’t

Photo credit: FMT

Mahathir Mohamad

The people can forget about the development of engineering capability as government policy now was to encourage imports “as it has no pride in national products”.

I was not sacked as chairman of Proton but left on his own accord for various reasons. I decided for the sake of Proton that I should leave.

This is because Proton seems to be having difficulty with the government and for some unknown reason, sales of Proton cars have plummeted. Proton is not a GLC but a private company.

I know that I am persona non-grata with the government. I do not want to be the cause of Proton’s regress because of his presence. I would still like to see Proton recover and do well.”

I feel that I owe Proton owners and buyers reasons why I resigned as chairman of Proton.

Proton owners and buyers should continue to support the national car although I am no longer the chairman. Don’t take it out on Proton. I still wish to see it succeed and recover. So, please continue to support Proton.

Only Proton owners and fans can help it. So, please help Proton, your national car maker. It cannot expect any help from the government. Previously, the government policy was to encourage local content.

The government has no pride in national products. We can forget about the development of engineering capability as our policy now was to encourage imports. Imports are cheap and there are more consumers than producers.

I would like to make two key points:

Firstly, Proton has great ideas in introducing new models of good quality. This month, the company will launch the new Perdana and later in the year, the new Persona and Saga.

Secondly, Proton has paid more to the government than the government to Proton. The government claims to have provided grants, various forms of assistance as well as tax foregone to the tune of about RM 13.9 billion. Most of this is made up of taxes foregone.

Total contribution by Proton to government since 1985 comes to RM 24, 905 million viz. excise duty from 1985 onwards RM 11,785 million; sales tax from 1985 onwards RM 9,470 million; corporate tax from 1985 onwards RM 1,410 million; import duty from 1985 to 2008 RM 1,403 million; and GST from April 1 last year RM 28 million. The total comes to RM 24, 095 million. Clearly, Proton has paid more to the government than the government to Proton.

Then there are the seed funds, plants, jobs and vendors.

The company has repaid the RM400 million seed money that it obtained from the company through two funds. It fully funded the RM1.8 billion Tanjung Malim Plant from its internal coffers which at that point had a staggering RM4 billion, it provides jobs for about 12,000 workers at any one time directly, and more than 250,000 souls indirectly, it reduced the outflow of funds amounting to more than RM100 million and the vendors also create jobs and reduce outflow of funds.

 

Mahathir Mohamad, who needs no introduction, was the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia. The national car project, although mooted long before his time by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), became his brainchild when Proton Saga was launched in 1981. Mahathir was more of a doer than a talker.

 

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