Dr Mahathir appears unwilling to give Proton a shot at survival, claims blogger


(NST) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has come under question for his objection towards Proton’s move to seek a foreign strategic partner (FSP).

Blogger Lim Sian See, in a posting today, pulled no punches in criticising the former prime minister, and said the latter’s remarks indicated that he was unwilling to give the national carmaker a chance to expand.

Dr Mahathir had previously been quoted as saying that should an FSP be brought in, it would cause vendors and component suppliers to cease operations, resulting in “lots of workers losing their jobs.”

Lim said it would appear that with his remarks, Dr Mahathir was not placing Proton’s survival as a priority.

“Despite 32 years of trying and failing with him at the helm, Mahathir still wants Proton to remain status quo and is unwilling to give it a chance to survive, break free from the constraints of our small domestic car market and spread its wings internationally with a joint-venture partner.

“He has again attacked Proton’s plan to bring in a joint-venture partner. Specifically, he said this will cause the vendors and suppliers of components will close shop resulting in “lots of workers losing their jobs.”

“It appears that the suppliers and vendors to Proton continues to be Mahathir’s main concern,” she wrote, claiming that in a previous post in October, Dr Mahathir had also complained that his businessmen acquaintances were not given supplier contracts by Proton.

Lim also questioned Dr Mahathir’s call for Malaysia to re-impose heavy protection to Proton.

“It appears that more than three decades of forcing Malaysians to purchase over-priced and low specifications cars while driving up the loan burden of millions of Malaysians is not enough.”

The blogger also claimed that Dr Mahathir is unfairly blaming Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over Proton’s woes.

She reminded Dr Mahathir that the government no longer owns Proton, as the controlling stake was bought by DRB Hicom in 2012.

“If Mahathir truly believes he can save Proton, he should ask DRB Hicom to sell Proton to his son. Even after paying the RM1.2 billion original purchase price, Mokhzani will still have RM3 billion to inject into Proton to grow its business. This will allow Mokhzani to distribute Proton cars on top his current Porsche cars distribution business,” said Lim.

Lim also took Dr Mahathir to task for claiming that Malaysia has fallen from its status as an ‘Asian Tiger’, the mantle of which it had supposedly gained during Dr Mahathir’s time as prime minister.

“Contrary to Mahathir’s repeated misleading claims, Malaysia was not known as an Asian Tiger during his reign. The Asian Tigers then referred to South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore due to their economic growth rates which were consistently higher than Malaysia during his 22 years in power.

“At that time however, Malaysia was known as an Asian Tiger Cub country, not Asian Tiger, along with Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.”

Lim said that since Najib’s Economic Transformation Programme was implemented, Malaysia had registered higher economic growth annually, from 2011 to 2016, than the four Asian Tigers.

“This six-year stretch of outperforming the four tigers is a feat that was never achieved by Mahathir in his entire 22 years.”