At X90 launch, Anwar thanks Dr Mahathir and others for Proton’s 40 years

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Marking Proton’s 40th anniversary today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim expressed gratitude to those involved in the national carmaker’s journey, including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who drove the company’s establishment.

Anwar also thanked others who were part of Proton’s journey including the late Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad, who was the founder, former chairman and former executive director of DRB-HICOM.

“This modern Malaysia is indeed compatible with the development of Proton, so we are thankful that we survived despite the ups and downs that were worrying, and I believe that the new management and with a new commitment, seem to have a surge in the ability to raise the position of Proton, now Proton-Geely, as an industry that has great potential not only in our country but in Asean.

“So, it is appropriate in remembering Proton's 40-year journey, on behalf of the current unity government administration, we also thank former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had contoured and had a role in this field.

“And I also remember, because of my friend, Allahyarham Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad who showed extraordinary passion and obsession to make Proton a success,” Anwar said in his address at Proton’s 40th anniversary celebration and new Proton X90 launching ceremony here.

He added that Proton would be what it is today without its staff and workers, whom he also thanked for their hard work and efforts throughout the journey of Proton.

“We are proud of you, thank you,” Anwar said.

Anwar also thanked Geely Holding Group founder and chairman Eric Li for his commitment to support Proton and the expansion of the national car.

“I managed to have a discussion with chairman Li, and what is critical that attracted my attention is his observations, that in order for Proton-Geely to expand and excel, the focus has to be on training — quality training — in fields that we may not be too familiar about.

“But I must thank him that he did mention to me that Geely will be prepared to support a major training programme for our local Malaysians in Proton to excel their capabilities to enhance their tasks,” he said.

Anwar also assured Geely that the expansion plans was raised with the Perak government to ensure it could proceed without issues.

“I have discussed the matter with the Perak Menteri Besar that there will be ease of doing business, and they will facilitate the process to ensure that Geely and Proton succeed in making Tanjong Malim a major automotive centre,” he said.

This is because the government recognised that Proton’s socioeconomic impact on the nation is significant with the automotive ecosystem, Anwar said.

“The ecosystem that makes ESG (environmental, social and governance) that meets the requirement of the future.

“Chairman Li mentioned it me, an immediate initiative, not necessarily EV (electric vehicles), because the structure is not well placed (yet), but to have the both the capacity for electric vehicles and petroleum and gas.

“This will then facilitate the transition and looking pragmatically for the need to affect change and at the same time to be ready to undertake the immediate task and that should be the priority of the management because we are talking about 100,000 employment and half a million families affected.

In April, DRB-Hicom Bhd and Geely signed a heads of agreement (HoA) to reinforce the next phase of collaboration between the two companies.

DRB-Hicom reportedly said the HoA aims to see the development of the Automotive High-Tech Valley (AHTV) as Malaysia’s next- generation vehicle hub in Tanjong Malim which covers an extensive automotive and mobility solutions value chain.

The focus of the HoA will be on the development of an integrated automotive city that will give birth to a hub for a new energy vehicle industry.

The AHTV will occupy an area of about 404.69 hectares and will be expanded accordingly to cater for future needs.