‘Don’t equate buying national car to patriotism’


(Bernama) – Proton is suffering from a “willing buyer, willing seller” situation and this has nothing to do with a lack of nationalism or patriotism among Malaysians, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak.

He said when the buyer was not willing to buy, then there was nothing the seller can do.

He said it was unfortunate that competition and globalisation had turned the world into a buyers’ market.

“If there is a demand then you create the supply, but you cannot create a demand by asking Malaysians to buy your product just because they are Malaysians and Proton is also Malaysian,” he said in his latest blog posting today.

Salleh said Proton was not government-owned but privately owned, and yet former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had wanted Malaysians to help Proton as a “sort of national service or as a mark of patriotism”.

“Personally, I have no argument with this. After all, I am as Malaysian as Dr Mahathir is and anything that helps keep Malaysia’s flag flying high I would be most supportive of.”

However, he said buying a national-made car should not be equated to nationalism or patriotism.

“It is about spending sometimes up to half your monthly salary (on instalments, road tax, insurance, fuel, toll charges, parking fees, service, etc), not including the depreciation, which can be as high as 20% the instant you register your car and drive it out of the showroom.

“So when someone buys a car it all boils down to just one thing, value for money, and whether later you can recover as much as possible from your investment when you decide to sell or trade-in your car.”

Salleh said buying a car was the worst investment a person can make because the value would depreciate the instant the buyer bought it.

Therefore, he said, “ultimately the issue of market forces and the law of supply and demand dictate what you do”.

Citing Sweden, he said the Swedish government did not ask its people to buy Volvo in order to prevent the company from being sold to the Chinese while Britain did not ask the British to buy Mini to prevent the company from being sold to the Germans.