Najib: Proton’s former ‘chief tester’ lacked commercial understanding

(MMO) – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today said Proton “had to be rescued” as it was running on an unsustainable business model.

Without mentioning names, Najib said Proton’s “chief tester’s” unrealistic dreams and lack of commercial understanding led to the drop in the national carmaker’s sales performances.

“He would still prefer Proton to be 100 per cent Malaysian owned and lose hundreds of millions of ringgit a year.

“But that is the people’s money and it would have been irresponsible for us to continue with a business model that was never going to succeed,” he said in his speech.

Najib was witnessing the signing of the definitive agreement between DRB Hicom and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which will see 49.9 per cent of Proton’s shares go to the Chinese carmaker.

Former prime minister-turned-Opposition politician Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had previously claimed to be the “chief tester” of all Proton cars when he was its chairman.

Najib also reiterated his assurance that he would not allow the country to be sold to foreign businesses while he is in power.

“There are some who are trapped in old ways of thinking, who play on baseless fears about foreign investment leading to loss of sovereignty,” Najib said.

“Let me tell you that that will never happen on my watch,” he added.

Najib said such a view was “economically illiterate”.

However, he also said that rejecting foreign direct investments for ill-informed and racist reasons would only result in Malaysia losing competitive edge.

“By contrast, under this government, Malaysia stands open to investment — whether it be from China, India, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United States or anywhere else,” he said.