A member of parliament says that Proton’s strategic partnership with Zhejiang Geely will bring about many benefits and free the national automaker from perpetual government subsidies, Bernama reports.

Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Zahari, the MP for Setiawangsa, said the subsidies given to Proton since its inception had run into billions over the past 30 years, at great expense to taxpayers, and could not go on forever.

“I support the view of Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Ghani who hopes that moving forward, there will be no further subsidy for Proton and that it will be able to stand on its own feet without asking for government help. The government now cannot afford to continue to put good money into bad business. We have to cut bad business off,” he said.

He said that the tie-up with Geely would bring about increased production and earnings for Proton.
Though Proton’s current annual production at its Tanjung Malim plant is around 74,000 units, or only 20% of its capacity, Ahmad Fauzi said the partnership with Geely will change that.

“To begin with, Proton will now be able to increase its production five-fold to 500,000 vehicles in the just three years to the year 2020 with its entry into ASEAN, with a population of 600 million, and more significantly, the huge China market, with annual car sales of 28 million,” he said.

“Even if Proton, via Geely, secures just 1% of the China market, it means 280,000 extra cars for Proton to produce. The sky’s the limit for Proton. Just imagine the thousands of new jobs to be created for Malaysians,” he told the national news agency.

Ahmad Fauzi said he was personally excited about Proton’ future because the deal means saving some 60,000 direct and indirect jobs as well as some 200,000 other vendors, distributors and suppliers.

“Saving jobs had always been uppermost in the government’s mind when injecting funds into Proton all these years, and the sale of the Proton’s stake should be seen strictly as a business decision and nothing else,” he stated.

He said that the industry had evolved, and consolidation was the name of the game. Citing the acquisition of British brand Land Rover (and Jaguar) by the Tata Group of India as an example, he said the British public never regarded such a business deal as a “sell-out,” and Malaysians should be matured enough to behave similarly.

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