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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

NAJIB TAKES A SWIPE AT MAHATHIR: UNDER ME, CARS WERE CHEAP – UNDER YOU, CAR PRICES WILL GO UP

KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Najib Razak has slammed Putrajaya today for its proposal to limit the access of foreign cars to the local market as part of a new automotive policy.
The former prime minister said that expensive cars and protectionism granted to national carmaker Proton were among the main grouses from the public during his administration.
“It is ironic that the people who voted for the promise of cheaper petrol and the abolishment of tolls did not even get them, but instead ‘gifted’ with more expensive cars,” Najib said in a statement here.
Najib insisted that the return to the policies of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s previous term in the 1980s and 1990s were “worrying”, as it would place burden on the public.
“Malaysia is a signatory to various free trade agreements. Increasing protectionism will only trigger retaliation from other countries.
“This will cause higher cost of goods that needs to be paid by Malaysians, and make our exports from various industries less competitive,” Najib said.
The Pekan MP also denied that he was not supportive of Proton, highlighting that his administration has allocated RM1.1 billion of research and development grant and RM1.5 billion of easy loan for the automaker, if it could prove its sustainability.
He said a RM270 million grant for an electric vehicle project has also been given to Proton in 2010, for a joint venture with a United Kingdom-based company owned by Kamal Siddiqi, who Najib said was Dr Mahathir’s friend.—but was halted due to lack of success.
“I feel that the people should not carry Proton’s burden and the company must compete at its own capacity, like was done by Perodua.
“If Perodua can become the top car marque in the country, there is no excuse for Proton to achieve the same,” he added.
Earlier in Parliament today, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the previous government’s policy which favoured foreign cars had made it difficult for Proton to make a profit.
This, he explained, had created difficulties for the national carmaker to compete with global automotive giants.
– Malay Mail

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