Billionaire Syed Mokhtar urged to reveal all on ‘real’ Proton owner, proxies

(NST) – Billionaire Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary was today urged to speak up and reveal the identity of the owner and the proxies of national carmaker, Proton Holdings Bhd.

Umno Youth assistant secretary Datuk Mohamad Sahfri Ab Aziz said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s negative statements on the sale of Proton shares recently had caused confusion among the public.

“As a former Tokoh Maal Hijrah recipient, Syed Mokhtar should not keep quiet and not tell the truth when it fact he knows and bear the responsibility of explaining the truth.

“This is in order to ease the uncertainty among the public as well as local and international economic experts.

“Umno youth hereby urges Syed Mokhtar to reveal who is the real owner and who are the proxies behind Proton,” he told a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre here today.

Syed Mokhtar owns the DRB-Hicom group, which bought Proton Holdings in 2012.

Proton and China-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd signed an agreement last week that would see Geely take a 49.9 per cent stake in Proton and a controlling stake in Lotus, the British sports car maker, from Proton.

The decision was made in an effort to rejuvenate the country’s national car manufacturer.

When asked on when he expects Syed Mokhtar to respond, Sahfri said the former should answer before the Ramadan month ends.

“We look at this as a Proton business decision since it is a private entity, and also to ensure the continuity of the national company and that it was not influenced by the government.”

Recently, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said that Proton would remain a national car as Proton would still have a majority hold of 50.1 per cent.

However Dr Mahathir, who expressed his disappointment with the acquisition, lamented that the sale of the Proton shares was akin to him “losing a child”.

The country’s longest-serving prime minister also said that he could not be proud of Proton’s future success as it would no longer belong to him or to Malaysia.