It was so easy for BN government to let foreign cars into the country, says PM Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR:  The failure of Proton cars to stay competent in the automotive industry was due to Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s policy which did not give RM1 billion for research and development (R&D) programmes as promised to the company.

Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said, the government released the R&D allocation to Proton only after it has been bought by a foreign company.

“The allocation was given to other companies but not to Proton. When Proton is controlled by a foreign company then it is difficult for them to make profits.

“The government should help Proton with sincerity until it becomes successful like what it was in the “old age”,” he said in Dewan Rakyat today, followed with laughter amongst Members of Parliament (MPs).

Dr. Mahathir said that in answering Air Hitam MP, Datuk Seri Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong about the third national project car that he had announced in his visit to Japan recently.

Ka Siong wants to know the justification and whether the Government has learned the lessons from the failure of Proton over the years and if it is driven by the private sector, what is the difference with Proton now?

Dr. Mahathir stressed that another vital reason for Proton’s failure was the policy in allowing global giant companies to sell their cars in Malaysia. In return they impose terms and conditions that make it difficult for Proton cars to enter their countries.

“It is so easy for BN government to let foreign cars into the country. Even cars made from the “milo cans” could be sold here.

“The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will come out with specific terms and conditions for them to sell their cars here,” he added cynically.  

The Prime Minister added, last time Proton cars were successful in the Malaysian and international markets. About 25,000 Proton cars were sold in the United Kingdom (UK) and elsewhere.

“Due to the government’s inefficiency and ignorant about the automotive industry, Proton’s sales have dropped. It was mainly due to foreign cars entering Malaysian markets without reciprocity,” he added.

 Dr. Mahathir also added, Proton Company has to import its components and this indirectly means that the local people are unable to produce their own products that could offer competitive prices.

“I agree with the cooperating concept and allocating shares to other foreign automobile companies as Malaysia complies with the free trade policies. However, if the local people have no control over the company then it is very difficult for them to produce the national car.”

Dr. Mahathir said that in answering an additional question from Bukit Bintang MP, Fong Kui Lun of whether there will be cooperation and allocation of shares to foreign companies to manufacture the third national car. –Malaysia World News

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