Protons are supposed to be positive charged. Somehow, that is not part of the traits of our beloved Proton. Don’t get me wrong. Proton has mostly churned out good cars. My first car, the Proton Saga Megavalve, was with me for 16 years before I used a Perdana V6. It was only in 2011 that I switched to a Japanese model and is still using it. Entitled to a Kia Sorento from the company I prefer using a Proton Pesona because it’s zippy, reliable, and fits me going to either Hilton Sentral for meetings or to drive into a construction site. I love Proton, but I don’t love the case the Protun group has put through:
Proton started off with RM6 billion for two plants. It became very profitable in the mid 1980s and 1990s that its distributor EON, bought a bank and named it EON Bank! Over 30 years the Research and Development costs have totalled RM18 billion. However, Proton also has to pay royalty to Mitsubishi and as at 2003, that has amounted to RM17 billion. I’ll leave the total up to 2015 to your imagination.
Then for some reason Proton lost its edge and perhaps the drive and direction that Petronas had had to bail Proton out with a at least RM1 billion injection . Coincidentally both Petronas and Proton share the same adviser.
Don’t forget Proton also lost about RM1 billion (estimated) after discarding MV Agusta and Lotus! Bad management decision after a bad advice I assume.
In the end, Khazanah has had to step in through the acquisition of shares that must have cost around RM1 billion!
After 30 years in operation and RM44 billion spent, Proton still cannot make its own cars and have to rely on designs and engines from outside and is probably no different to Naza that sells rebranded cars. Yet it needs a capital injection of RM3 billion to produce new models! Three months later, Proton requested for a RM1.7 billion grant from theEconomic Council chaired by Najib Razak.
So more needs to be injected using the taxpayers’ money after 30 years while the rakyat will have to be contented with buying overpriced cars. While 1MDB has all but settled its problems, Proton is still looking for a business model that works and that after 30 years!
Instead of blindly attacking 1MDB and other efforts by the Najib administration, Mahathir should just focus on steering Proton the right way towards profatibility and giving the rakyat the access to affordable quality cars.
And instead of spending millions on birthday bashes for him, maybe Mahathir ought to ask his cronies to take up equity in Proton and actually work for money.
He would whine less and be less grumpy when at least one of his efforts actually works.