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M'sia's automotive industry lauds Mahathir as Proton chairman

Publication Date : 22-05-2014


Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the “ideal man” to be Proton chairman, Malaysian Automotive Association president Aishah Ahmad said yesterday.

She said the former Malaysian prime minister was the founder of the national car brand and as chairman, could help boost the car manufacturer’s standing in the market.

“He had a vision, that we needed a local car brand. At that time, component part industry was not as thriving as it is now. The establishment of Proton created opportunities,” she said yesterday.

Aishah described Dr Mahathir as a passionate man who knows the automotive industry well.

“He would attend every motor show and scrutinise Proton cars and give his feedback,” she added.

Aishah was commenting on Dr Mahathir’s recent appointment as chairman of Proton Holdings Bhd, a non-executive post that is seen as giving him a greater clout from his previous role as an adviser.

Her optimism was shared by Malaysia Retail Chain Association vice-president Garry Chua who said it was high time for Proton to have fresh injection of ideas and strategies.

“With Dr Mahathir on board as the chairman, the right strategy and partnership, the brand can be better than before.

“Proton is his baby and his passion. Of course he would want to see it become a success. But on a day-to-day basis, the CEO should be driving the company. Dr Mahathir will have good advice to move the brand forward,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has been a staunch supporter of the national car company since it was established in 1983 and was appointed adviser at Proton in 2003 after he stepped down as prime minister.

In 2012, DRB-Hicom Bhd took Proton private after buying out Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s stake. Since going private, DRB-Hicom has been trying to address the carmaker’s slide by focusing on radical transformation measures for Proton’s management.

Bernama reported that Proton had produced more than 3.5 million vehicles from its plants in Shah Alam, Selangor, and Tanjung Malim, Perak, and held up to 85% of the domestic car market during its peak.


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