Malaysia Has Ambitions to Start Another National Car, says Prime Minister Tun Mahathir

At the 24th International Conference on The Future of Asia, or Nikkei Conference, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said that the country is looking to start a national car project.

“The national car must be owned by Malaysians. At the very beginning we had a very small investment from Japan, from Mitsubishi Motor Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation, and eventually we were able to manage on our own, but now the company (Proton) has been sold to a Chinese company, (and) it is no longer a national car,” he said.

“Our ambition is to start another national car, perhaps with some help from our partners in SEA like Thailand, and also Japan, Korea and China, because obviously there is the capacity to produce good quality cars which are saleable across the world market, and we want to access the world market,” he added.

He said that Malaysia has the ability to undertake such projects. “We may have to depend on foreign technology and partners at the beginning, but eventually we hope to be able to do everything by ourselves. In the automotive field after we started work with Mitsubishi, today Malaysians have the capacity to do almost 100% of the development of a motor vehicle. That is the benefit we have obtained by having foreign partners,” he stated.

Tun Mahathir has, in the past, been against the sale of a stake in Proton to Geely. Last month, he made it clear that the Malaysian government has no plans to buy back Proton.

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