A few days ago, the federal government under BN has decided to replace the administrative member’s Proton Perdana Executive, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, Judges and Pegawai-pegawai Perkhidmatan Gred Utama/Khas A and above, with Honda Accord 2.4L.
Meanwhile, the official car Proton Inspiras which are still used by Pegawai-pegawai Perkhidmatan Gred Utama/Khas B and C will be replaced with Honda Accord 2.0L.
Media also reported that both Honda models are Completely Knocked-Down (CKD) cars assembled in DRB-Hicom plant in Pekan, Pahang, which is the Parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak.
This is not the first time a government in Malaysia has decided to replace the national car Proton Perdana Executive with non-national cars.
In 2008, the Selangor and Perak State government under Pakatan rakyat (PR) have decided to replace Proton Perdana Excutive cars with Toyota Camry 2.4L as the official cars for State EXCOs.
This decision was criticised by UMNO leaders then as being unpatriotic although the reason to replace Proton Perdana Executive is due to the extremely high maintenance cost and frequent breakdowns of the national car.
Later, UMNO leaders were silent when Terengganu and Sabah state government under BN made the similar decision when both state governments decided to replace Proton Perdana Executive with Mercedes-Benz and Volvo as the official cars for. Both models are said to be far more expensive and luxurious than Toyota Camry.
Now that the BN Federal government has made similar decision. I am surprised under two grounds. First, why does the Proton Inspiras which are still new has to be replaced with Honda Accord 2.0L?
Second, why does the government has to use the Honda Accord 2.4L dan 2.0L car and not others? Was it because both the Honda models are assembled by DRB-Hicom factory in Pekan in which the company is now owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary?
Malaysians are still haunted by the previous scandal when Federal government signed a one-sided agreement with Spanco whose role was to maintain all Proton Perdana Executive officials’ car in which the federal government has to pay RM100 million a year to Spanco for this very purpose.
Moreover, question also arises when the governement did not announce whether this selection process went through an open tender process or direct negotiation, as occurred in the case of Spanco? How much has to be borne by Federal government every year and how long is the lease contract?
What is certain is that UMNO leaders have lost their credibilities when they dared to “rebel” against national car. They shouldn’t accuse PR government in future with similar defamatory remarks when they themselves did the same.