Contradictory to what the Prime Minister mentioned yesterday, Khazanah Nasional who owns about 43% of Proton and spearheads the talks between Proton and a potential stakeholding partner has said that it is still in talks with Volkswagen, as well as the other potential foreign partner, General Motors. Local partners such as DRB-HICOM, Mofaz and Naza are also in consideration.

There is now a new deadline for partnership talks to conclude, but because of what has happened previously, I am not sure anymore if a deadline means anything at all. Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said the new deadline would be 3 months from now – which would be 31st August 2007, coincedentally Merdeka day. We should be able to know by then whether we will be able to “merdeka” from this continuous soap opera that is the Proton foreign partnership talk.

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop also commented that controlling stake was not an issue in any talks that was going on. However, I am not sure if we can believe anything in the news anymore as reports from the government, Khazanah, and Proton always seem to contradict each other.

Proton shares dropped 5 sen to RM5.30 since the announcement of Volkswagen pulling out and making a loss for the 2006 financial year.