Former Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has shared his thoughts relating to the recent Proton-Geely deal in a posting on his personal blog.
Describing Proton as his “child,” he stated that with the done deed, “Proton can no longer be national” and that any success it experiences is nothing to be proud of, as it doesn’t “belong to me or my country.”
Yesterday, Geely was announced as Proton’s foreign strategic partner, and will acquire a 49.9% stake in the national carmaker, as well as a 51% stake in Lotus. Both parties are expected to sign a definitive agreement before the end of July 2017.
“With a strategic partner, Proton would be able to elevate the brand value and consumer confidence, have access to the latest technology, achieve higher economies of scale and have the ability to access bigger markets beyond Malaysia,” said second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani in a report by The Star, citing examples such as Tata with Jaguar Land Rover as well as BMW with MINI and Rolls-Royce.
The following is the blog posting by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in full:
1. Proton has been sold. It has been sold to foreigners.
2. They say Proton is my brainchild. Now the child of my brain has been sold.
3. Yes. I am sad. I can cry. But the deed is done. Proton can no longer be national. No national car now. We Malaysians are glad to be rid of this pesky car. I am sure Proton will do well. It will be a commercial success. It will be sold all over the world. The Proton name will be everywhere.
4. It will be like Singapore. Malaysians are proud of this great city-state. If it had not been sold it would be, perhaps, as well developed as Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis. Then we cannot be proud of Singapore.
5. Now we can be proud of Proton. With money and superior technology it will compete with Rolls Royce and Bentley.
6. But I cannot be proud of its success. I cannot be proud of the success of something that does not belong to me or my country. Maybe other Malaysians will, but not me. Come to think of it, if our country is sold to others, to the very rich people of other countries, I am sure our country will become well developed too. It can even be a fully developed country – exceeding the expectations of Vision 2020.
7. It will be a great country with super highways, high-speed rail (HSR), gleaming skyscrapers, shining new towns, beautifully landscaped and lighted. But I can’t be proud! Can I be proud to be living on the fringes of this great country so well developed by the buyers.
8. I will die soon. I am already beyond average age. And as I slip into my final years, or month or days, I will watch as our beloved country is sold to foreigners to settle the trillion Ringgits that we owe. We will have to sell more and more of our country.
9. What are our assets? Our land of course!! That was what we did in the past. We sold chunks of our country. We lost the land we sold. That is what we are doing now. And that will be what we will have to do – or forfeit our country; like we forfeit Proton.
10. Proton the child of my brain has been sold. It is probably the beginning of the great sell-out. The process is inexorable. No other way can we earn the billions to pay our debts. The only way is to sell our assets. And eventually we will lose our country, a great country no doubt, but owned by others.
11. I am a sissy. I cry even if Malaysians are dry-eyed. My child is lost. And soon my country.
12. Please excuse me.