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NEWS UPDATES 12 September 2009

Malaysia’s Mahathir happy to be back at Proton

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Founder and adviser of Malaysia’s national car maker made a return to the country's first car manufacturing plant after four and a half years, state news agency Bernama reported.

The agency quoted the former prime minister as saying he was happy to be back as the plant brought him nostalgia at a time when Proton, Malaysia's national car company, was just starting out.

"I am happy to be back at the plant which manufactured the country's first Proton car in 1985. It has been 27 years since then, not many businesses can remain that long," he said at a break of fast with Proton staff here Thursday.

Mahathir said the government established Proton as it had confidence in the country's ability although certain quarters were sceptical while some made fun of it.

"I can still recall a comic sketch of the Proton car with a bullock cart roof. However, when the first car was unveiled and I drove it, many people gave it the thumbs up."

He said Proton's pre-tax profit of 64 million ringgit ($18.3) for first quarter of 2009 showed that it was capable of competing in the local and international markets. Proton would also contribute towards making Malaysia achieve developed nation status by 2020.


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