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Proton has announced that its chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has resigned from his post with immediate effect. He has also stepped down as chairman of Group Lotus. The former premier sent a letter of resignation to DRB-Hicom group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar yesterday.

“We respect his wish to step down; we would like to register our utmost appreciation for his valuable contribution, commitment and dedication for his role as Chairman since 2014 as well as an Advisor since 2003,” said the national automaker in a statement. “We would like to express our gratitude and recognise Tun Dr Mahathir’s role as the creator of the national car company.”

For now, it is unclear whether this sudden move is related to the revelations reported by The Straits Times last week. The Singaporean publication stated that Mahathir’s political feud with prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak may be inadvertently affecting Proton’s bid to secure an urgent and much needed RM1.5 billion grant from the government.

In addition to his posts at Proton, Mahathir has also resigned as advisors to the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) and the Tioman Island Development Authority (TIDA). The chief secretary to the government has been informed of these resignations.