Proton may currently be focused on rebuilding its domestic presence, but the government is already pushing for the national carmaker to resume exports, with Bahrain apparently expressing interest in the X70 SUV.

That’s according to a report from Bernama, quoting entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof (yes, the “flying car” minister). He said that during his working visit to the Middle Eastern country, he found that it was keen on strengthening bilateral relations, and that Proton could be a prime beneficiary of all this.

“Besides Bahrain, Proton can also look to enter the east European market,” he said, adding that he has already conveyed the country’s interest to Proton, and that it was up to the company to pursue the matter. “As entrepreneurs, we have to think of how to tap the overseas market and benefit from it.”

It should be pointed out that Proton’s partner Geely already sells the Boyue in Bahrain as the Emgrand X7 Sport, as well as in Russia and Belarus (where it is locally assembled) as the Atlas. These markets are also left-hand drive, so even if Proton does export the X70 to these countries, the cars will likely come from China and not Tanjung Malim.