Too many problems . Unable to capture market , losing out to Perodua , consumers' perception that they are not up to the mark , not renewing the contract of their capable and good CEO Tengku Mahaleel , advisor of Proton Tun Dr Mahathir being advised instead of advising the management , handicapped by the post Mahathir administration , face stiff national car status rivalry with Naza , and the list goes on and on .
We have to admit that Dr Mahathir was a little hasty and instead of Mitsubishi helping us , teaching us to make our own cars , Dr Mahathir wanted a car as fast as possible from the factory of Proton in the 1980s . Proton Saga was borned , almost all the efforts were attributed to Mitsubishi . But of course , the courage of Dr M to go to the drawing board and even dare dream about making a Malaysian Car in the 1980s is truly awesome . Would you have done that ? No way ! We have to face facts that we are all slow , pessimistic , low in confidence , do not have high visions , dare not dream the extreme .
But Dr M did what we normal Malaysians dare not , could not , would not . He announced the formation of Proton . What did the many Malaysians say in the coffeeshop , kedai kopi , cafes ?
"Aiyar ... this wont happen-lah ! Malaysian made car ar ?? Are you dreaming !? "
Ahuh . That's right . Dr Mahathir was dreaming . But his dreams are what we call vision . The great thing about this vision and mission was that it came true , against all odds and sceptisms . Man ! We were so proud at that moment . Whose credits were those ? Dr Mahathir .
Today ? The Grand Master of Politics is an advisor to the 'child' he gave life to . Proton . Tengku Mahaleel did a great job as Dr Mahathir claimed , accumulating RM 2 billion in cash to have their very own brand new Production Factory in Tanjung Malim , Perak . We even have a Proton City there now . We export cars to the Middle East countries for example . If Dr Mahathir didnt provide the basis , the foundation of a car industry , will we be proud to say "Oh , this is Malaysian made car !"
When I went to Japan for student exchange , the Japanese thought that we do not have the capability to have our own car . But when I told them that Mitsubishi assisted us and now we make many models of cars to cater for Malaysians and that we owned Lotus , they were shocked and amazed . Whose 'jasa' is this ? Dr Mahathir .
And what do we get ? Dr Mahathir is claiming that Tengku Mahaleel was wrongly removed . Dr Mahathir comes out commenting that the Proton management ( at one time led by Datuk Azlan Hashim , Chairman ) was advising him instead of him providing ideas and opinions in his capacity as advisor .
At last , the stage of rebellion has arrived . A father has lost his say on his child . A father has lost power in his house . A father is being told by his son how to live his life . Where is the logic ? Where is the justice ? No one knows .
It is true that Proton is not as efficient as Mitsubishi , Toyota . Imagine a food court where there are two sellers . This will be me selling Fried Rice ( just started selling a month ago ) and another man who is selling Fried Noodles ( selling since 10 years ago ) . Does it mean that if the Fried Noodles operator who is rich and able to sell cheap fried noodles , then should I stop selling my Fried Rice just because I operate at a higher cost than him ? I certainly don't think so if you look at the time span .
Compare Proton to Mitsubishi . Mitsubishi is like the lecturer of Proton . They have been in the business for quite a while , certainly longer than Proton . Can we compare Proton's operating costs to theirs ? No way . Economically it is not right . Mitsubishi would have captured a lot of market share , adopted the cheapest cost methods over time and use the best level of technology with their huge cash treasure chest .
Proton is less than 3 decades old . 3 decades my dear friends . Ford ? Ford is around over a 100 years old ! Should we tell Proton to stand on whatever platform they are on and go grab a sword and fight with Ford ? I doubt they will be able to do so .
Imagine a baby who is just learning how to walk , let this baby be a year old . Imagine a child at 7 years old who has experienced growth of body parts , bones etc . Can the baby fight the 7 year old kid without assistance of any kind ? Unless the baby is Superman , I doubt it .
Well , in economics , we learn that rich developed countries like US normally have a growth of around 2- 3 % as they are already very much developed and there's nothing much left for them to have growth on except a few areas . Developing countries like Malaysia ( officially ranked as Contender Country , a rank higher than developing level now ) have a growth of around 6- 7 % . As time passes by , developing countries will be able to catch up with the rich developed countries ( presumably ) . I might be wrong in this theory but that's not the point . The point is , Proton , if given government assistance , will one day be able to catch up with the already established car makers like General Motors , Toyota . We will reach there one day . We must not be bias towards Proton by saying that they are not as good as carmakers like Daimler , BMW , Volvo , Honda . These are all superpowers and established carmakers . Proton is just an amateur who is just starting her march forward . Give Proton time , proper assistance , and more importantly , change your perception of Proton . Provide them with the support the way you expect your parents to support , love and care for you when you were a child . Baby Proton will soon be an adult and repay your trust in them . Baby Proton will excel .
Will they ? Maybe if things go accordingly . But the current status of Naza , presence of imported cars surge in Malaysia and other automobile issues are causing Proton's legs and hands to tied .
Whether they will survive and achieve what we would like them to achieve , it all depends on the Government of Malaysia , the Prime Minister , and of course the test of time .