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Proton says it is ready to collaborate in the ASEAN car project, with CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah telling Bernama that as a household brand in the local industry, the Malaysian carmaker will continue to focus its efforts on realising the government’s strategic objectives.

“We would be very happy to extend our market deeper into other ASEAN countries with their collaboration, in expanding our brand further. Proton is ever willing to assist any country that is willing to grow together with us, with the blessings of the Malaysian government,” he said.

Harith said that Proton is already an ASEAN car, as unlike carmakers in other nations in the region, it produces locally-branded cars in its own manufacturing facilities. He added that ASEAN is the next-largest growing market in the world after China, and ASEAN countries should protect their own market territory by producing homegrown products.

In October, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak revealed that Indonesian president Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) expressed interest in the ASEAN car, and that Malaysia and Indonesia would collaborate to make the project a reality.