In an interview with The Edge, ex-PM and chairman of Proton Holdings, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, has revealed that the local car manufacturer has been suffering lately due to the lack of government support. Also, Tun M was also quoted as saying that while the marque is still very much a key player, the need to be “popular with consumers” has prompted the government to “open its doors to foreign imports.”

With that said, the countries responsible for producing said imports have, in turn, closed their doors towards Proton and its products. The five minute-long interview also brings the spotlight on to the possibility that perhaps part of Proton’s current predicament is caused by the fact that they brand “is not as good as the Koreans or the Japanese,” as voiced by one of the interviewers.

To which Tun M responded that if “you (the interviewer) wanted to admit that we are not good, then you can admit that-lah.” However, he was quick to point out that said countries along with China were also responsible for protecting their markets at the start. “So, what’s wrong with protecting our market?” he went on to ask.

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Despite all the (perceived) negativity surrounding Proton currently, Tun M was quoted as saying that he still sees a bright future ahead for the nation’s first car manufacturer. Additionally, he has stated that the brand can still “turn things around” for the better and that it may have to accept the fact that “Malaysians are campaigning against Proton.”

In the future, Tun M has stated that the brand will be aiming to produce cars that “are as good as imported cars” and while that may result in products that might “cost a little bit more,” it is the direction that the marque has decided to take in the long run. “Malaysians always expect a low-quality, cheaply-built car. That is not Proton anymore. We have a different idea,” reaffirmed Tun M.

On that notion alone, it would appear that Proton may be standing its ground rather firmly as just recently, the upcoming Proton Perdana was captured in a teaser video for a new film entitled Filem Kapsul. Earlier in June this year, the brand had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and License Agreement (LA) with Japanese carmaker, Suzuki.

GALLERY: Proton Perdana in Filem Kapsul

GALLERY: Proton Iriz EV