The issue of taking over the government’s investment arm Khazanah Nasional’s stake in Proton continues to make the news, with the most recent update saying that a decision will be announced sometime in March 2007.

Naza has submitted it’s proposal and presented it to the relevant officials on Thursday last week, and it will be considered together with other proposals from local firms like the Mofaz group and DRB-HICOM. DRB-HICOM took a different approach to it’s proposal, with what I perceive as a two prong attack – number one – it says it can help Proton, we’ve read about that before.

Number two – it says it has no choice but to win the bid because if it doesn’t, DRB-HICOM might potentially tumble down into financial trouble. “We then have to crack our heads (to find a way) to move forward. If we cannot go into the auto industry (in a big way) we would have to move into other areas. But, with 60% of our group revenue coming from the auto sector, we need to take over Proton and protect our current business,” said the groups automotive and component division Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Omar. Since the government has a 39% stake in DRB-HICOM, the group’s performance is of concern as it is also a government investment like Proton.

However, The Edge cited unnamed sources that the government is committed to putting priority on foreign firms rather than local firms, as foreign firms could offer more to Proton. The Prime Minister rebutted this rumour yesterday, saying all proposals would be properly considered and evaluated before a decision is made.

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