Friday, April 08, 2016

The baby is born and yet the government does not seem to be doing anything substantial to make Proton a healthy baby – a rebuttal of Salleh Said Keruak’s article, “The Proton willing buyer, willing seller situation”

Media statement by DAP ADUN for Kampung Tunku Lau Weng San on 7th April 2016 in Petaling Jaya:

Salleh Said Keruak’s article entitled “The Proton willing buyer, willing seller situation” seems to be politically flavoured to target Tun Mahathir rather than explaining the government’s plan to turn around the profit-lossing national carmaker.

While acknowledging that creating a homegrown automobile industry will not be viable as long as it depends only on the support of domestic market, Malaysian must demand that the Federal government to cut down rhetoric and explain to the public what it has in stock for the national carmaker.

Salleh’s article does not assist in helping ordinary Malaysians understand the government’s position on this, a failure on his duty as Communication and Multimedia Minister.

Majority of the Malaysian families own a Proton at least once in a life time (I am still a proud owner of a Proton Wira 1.5M), whether they bought it as a first-hand or a second-hand buyer. Proton was an affordable cars during its early days due to government subsidies and heavy taxation for foreign cars. 

However it does not dominate the Malaysian car market since early 2000s due to its quality, if the quality of Proton cars were indeed on par with foreign brand cars then the demand for Proton cars will definitely increase.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) yesterday said in Parliament that Proton has improved the quality of its car tremendously that it is “on par with many renowned carmakers in the world”.

This statement from MITI came as a total contrast to Salleh’s statement. Is the right hand speaking to the left hand? Certainly they do not as Salleh’s statement is nothing but only meant to discredit Mahathir’s legacy.

Salleh and MITI must explain to Malaysian, in an increasingly competitive automobile market, how the federal government is going to assist Proton to remain competitive?

Is Salleh suggesting that the government should abandon Proton to the winds of the free market economy despite heavy investment from the government? 

Does this not seem like an easy way to cut costs and let our flagship automobile brand dying from exposure to the free market?

Is it exactly true that a Japanese and a German do not necessarily buy their home brand vehicle when majority of the Japanese and German bought their local brands?

Is Saleh also suggesting to the Federal government to abandon Proton as its official cars due to the fact that Proton is uncompetitive?

If so, what was all the fuss about unpatriotic behaviour when the Opposition-run states decided to abandon Proton cars as official cars? 

Finally, how is the Federal government going to boast the usage of public transportation with higher fares, cheaper cars and cheaper fuels?

The answers to these questions are not easy but Salleh and the entire Cabinet must have the gut to deal with the issues rather than using it to score political potshots.

Lau Weng San
ADUN Kampung Tunku

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