One of the key points of the interview with Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the national carmaker’s dogged determination in developing its own cars with its own technology – such as its upcoming new range of engines with direct injection – instead of rebadging those from other carmakers.

When asked about whether it was worth it to spend so much money on its own research and development, when it is cheaper to simply rebadge other cars, the former premier responded, “We will never progress if we just change the logo at the front and back. One has to remember that there is also a nation agenda – it is not just about making money.

“We want to acquire engineering capabilities in this country. The car provides a lot of engineering technologies and ways of thinking. We have to learn those,” he said.

Mahathir added that there was no point if Proton had continued to simply change the badges at the front and rear of the car. “It’s not our car. We might as well just import cars and not put our badges,” he said.

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He also touched on the partnership with Suzuki, and how Proton could learn from Japan’s fourth biggest carmaker. “They are very good in small cars, they have good knowledge about reducing costs, they have a lot of technology we can access. So we can learn from them.

“They went to India before anybody did, and they worked with Maruti. Now they are selling one million cars in India. So they have certain knowledge which we need to acquire.”

Mahathir claimed that Suzuki found that “the Malaysian market is too small for them,” and that it wanted to exit the country. “They offer to work with us. So why not? We can learn from them,” he said.

Watch the video above to see the full interview with Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.