Malaysian government won't allow Proton to sink: PM Najib

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said that the problems which Proton faced in the past was likely because the carmaker's business model was based on economic nationalism and not business reality. PHOTO: THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK

TANJUNG MALIM (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Accusations that the Malaysian government is not interested in helping carmaker Proton are nothing but lies, said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Mr Najib said the government has always been committed to Proton and has in the past few years extended a lot of help to lift Proton's fortunes.

"If people say that we don't help Proton, then that is just lies.

"We have given loans, capital injection and incentives. We made it a condition though if Proton wants to continue to develop it has no choice but to choose a strategic partner," Mr Najib said at the launch of the National Automotive Cluster @ Proton City here.

Proton is partly owned by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group which took up a 49.9 per cent stake for RM460.3 million (S$150 million) last year.

The Prime Minister said that there had been too much political interference in Proton's management in the past.

Mr Najib said that when Proton's history is examined, the government realised that the problems which Proton faced in the past was likely because the carmaker's business model was based on economic nationalism and not business reality.

"We won't allow Proton to sink. But Proton needs support from the government to be revived. And the government will revive Proton with DRB-Hicom," said Mr Najib.

Mr Najib told the audience that he had travelled to Proton city by taking the KTM Komuter train in order to try out the public transport system from KL Sentral to Tanjung Malim.

He said that Tanjung Malim had great potential with the success of the National Automotive Cluster.

"Tanjung Malim is now at the crossroads to a very bright future," said Mr Najib, adding that the development of both Proton as well as Tanjung Malim will continue to be a priority for the Government.

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