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Proton will remain confined to the local market if the company continues to rely on government protection, according to deputy minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Hamim Samuri.

He said that the national car company must find a way to penetrate the international market on par with South Korean and Japanese car manufacturers, Bernama reports. He added that Malaysians should emulate the spirit of self-esteem and support for their local car industries as shown by the communities in those countries.

“They are unlike some of our citizens who belittle the quality of our national car, including exaggerating the issue of minor flaws (with the door windows),” he told reporters at an event over the weekend.

Proton Suprima S and Preve

Recently-appointed Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last month that since the Malaysian car market is small, Proton will have to focus on a new strategy as well as exports in order to expand, and that the national car company was in talks with several Japanese carmakers regarding future collaborations.

“Proton’s performance can be improved and we will look closely at how we can continue to export our cars. We are going to look closely at the countries that we can export our cars (to) so that the production can be increased as we have a big production capacity which is not utilised,” the former PM said.