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Friday, June 23, 2017


PUTRAJAYA had no choice but to extend a credit line of RM1.7 billion to Proton Holdings Bhd to save 10,000 jobs, the prime minister said today.
Najib Razak said if Proton had closed, the ecosystem surrounding the national carmaker, which accounts for some 200,000 jobs, would also suffer.
“Yes, Proton was in trouble and the government was called upon to help the firm, which resulted in the soft loan we extended in 2016.
“The government helped because we cared about welfare of those hundreds of thousands of people who had jobs within Proton,” he said during the signing ceremony between Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely) and DRB-Hicom.
Last month, Geely agreed to buy the ailing national carmaker from DRB-Hicom.
Geely, which controls Hong Kong-based Geely Automobile and Sweden’s Volvo Car Group, acquired a 49.9% stake in Proton.
It was reported that the government extended its line of credit amounting to RM1.7 billion on top of a RM1.2 billion soft loan last year, to support mounting operational costs and lacklustre sales.
Najib said there were also those who asked why Proton was being helped when it was a private entity.
“The reality had dawned on almost everyone, namely, that the business model was, and had always been unsustainable in the long run.
“For far too long, the unrealistic dreams and lack of commercial understanding of its former chief tester had been indulged.
“He would still prefer Proton to be 100% Malaysian owned and lose hundreds of millions of ringgit a year,” Najib said, referring indirectly to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who started Proton in 1983 during his second year as prime minister.
Najib added: “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 there are some who are trapped in old ways of thinking, playing on baseless fears about foreign investment leading to a loss of sovereignty.
“Let me tell you that that will never happen on my watch. But in any case, that view is economically illiterate. Rejecting foreign direct investment, for ill-informed and sometimes frankly racist reasons, would only lead to the impoverishment of Malaysians and the erosion of our competitive edge.”

Najib was confident the new partnership between DRB-Hicom and Geely will see Proton become one of the leading carmakers in Southeast Asia and one of Malaysia’s great exports to the region.
“But we set a condition to Proton to find a strategic partner that can help achieve economies of scale.
“It was clear that to do this, Proton needed to go beyond its home shores, and the only way it was going to be able to do that was to align itself to a global giant.”
Geely today signed a definitive agreement to acquire the 49.9% stake in Proton.
The signing was inked between Geely Auto Group president and CEO An Conghui and DRB-Hicom Group managing director Syed Faisal Albar at the Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur.
Geely also today acquired a 51% stake in Lotus Advance Technology Sdn Bhd.
Najib later unveiled the first public viewing of the Boyue SUV, which is part of the deal will Geely. Proton will have the rights to use the right-hand drive model of the car for Asean.
– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com

1 comment:

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