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Proton Holdings Bhd needs at least a year to turn around, chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said, according to a New Straits Times report. In the quest to improve the quality of its products, the former PM said the national carmaker will need to provide more training for its staff and get capital injection.

“There is public perception that Proton manufactures low-quality cars. To convince people that Proton has improved the quality of its products is not easy. But God willing, we will be able to turn around.

“It should take not less than a year. Even one year is not sufficient for Proton to recover completely. There will still be problems but we will improve as we go along,” NST quoted Mahathir as saying.

Mahathir also spoke of plans to move operations and facilities at Shah Alam to the site of the newer Tanjung Malim plant, in a bid to help boost production capacity and centralise group operations.

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“We hope to move to the Tanjung Malim plant in less than five years,” he said, adding that the national carmaker has spent around RM1.8 billion on the high-tech facility and plans to invest several hundred million more to expand the plant as well as build staff residences.

In another NST report, Mahathir said Proton is producing more global cars with nearly zero defects, which are poised to give Japanese and Korean competition a run for their money.

“I believe Proton can produce quality cars better than those produced by the Japanese and Koreans. Our upcoming new products will prove that. We have engaged with all Proton staff to implement our new strategy and direction to ensure the success of our turn-around plan,” he said yesterday.