Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Future of Proton

The Terengganu Government started the whole “Proton is lousy” episode and “We want Mercedes”. This was promptly followed by shouts in the Penang Government with words “We want Camry!”.

Not surprising to many, the Perak Government is now indicating that Malaysians are stupid and can’t make cars so they are now using Toyota Camry.

This is bad actually. How are we to sell cars in Malaysia and overseas when our own Government officials are not using cars that we make?

If I am not mistaken, our Proton cars were used in the past for OIC and ASEAN meetings.

The Proton Perdana V6 Executive cars were used as official chauffeured cars for Government heads, Ministers and Ambassadors from the participating countries.

Our Proton cars, the Waja, GEN 2 and Persona line, are now widely used in the Middle East be it personal or commercial as cabs.

1. Proton launches Persona in Middle East
2. Proton to boost activity in Iranian market

Proton is 25 years old now and soon to be 26. In two decades, call us copycats of Mitsubishi or whatever you like, we have managed to buy and sell MV Augusta and we are still the proud owners of Lotus.

Proton today caters jobs and knowledge for the many local Malaysians who have great interest in automotive engineering.

I personally have friends who like automotive engineering. Without carmakers like Proton and Perodua, there won’t be the course “automotive engineering” in Malaysia. As the saying goes, in most cases, supply doesn’t exist without demand.

Malaysian Universities and Colleges today have courses related to automobile engineering be it car repairs, physics of the car, production of car materials or even design of the car.

Young students who have ambitions of being automotive engineers need not worry about financial burdens or job opportunities. Students in the past have to shed tears and leave their family behind to work overseas that produce cars.

Malaysia provided the dream, still providing it till today and I promise that youth leaders from my generation will ensure that Proton stays on to provide cars and expertise to Malaysians.

It will one day be a living dream to own a Proton, not ridiculed by Malaysians and unappreciated by those who do not understand the true meaning of Proton.

Thank you Pakatan Rakyat for playing a role in killing Proton.

Note to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin whom I hope will be the Prime Minister of Malaysia one day.

With regards to the news – Bumiputra motor traders ask for AP system extension – reported in The Star today, I hope the trade off economics of AP system with Proton is well studied before approving for the extension.

A haste decision will provide a safety net and fill the pockets of the handful of Bumiputra AP motor traders.

What will be the fate of the 100,000 or so Bumiputra engineers, Bumiputra managers, Bumiputra automotive experts, Bumiputra car dealers, Bumiputra service and maintenance centres, and Bumiputra car parts manufacturers whose rice bowl depend on Proton and Perodua?

The Finance Ministry, whose responsibility include GLCs, should focus on Proton also, not just Sime Darby.

Credits to TheStar, Proton and Lotus Group for the photos.

1 comment:

river said...

Hi Goh,
I admire your sense of nationalism. While malaysian skeptics are are abundant, government optimists (Mahathir's government that is, not the present Pak Lah's, which in my opinion is a weak one and is the cause of our nation's demise on the global map) are few, it is really rare to find a malaysian chinese, despite the claimed injustices of the affirmative action between bumiputra and non-bumiputra, who still believes that malaysia does have its future as a great nation. It shall be the day as wished by TDM, that the malays can make do without our artificial assistance one day and racial disparity shall blur among us, allowing us to compete on the global front as malaysians. That by preserving our separate cultures with inter-belief respect and tolerance. That was Vision 2020.

Your point of views make me believe again that racial harmony through rational tolerance still can be achieved.
I concur your views on Proton. The initial intention was noble, although i think we had missed the boat during late 80's when the auto industry was still undominated by the few great manufacturers that we have today. It was due to our contract obligations to Mitsubishi, but we could have done like the Koreans and be aggressive in our internal RND and expansions. Alas, Proton was too comfortable in its protective nest and it was only in 1996 that it tried to develop its RND and design its own cars. By then the more established car manufacturers have already a stable of patents and models that flooded the global market.
There is still a chance though, even the US manufacturers are consolidating with the current state of economy. If our corporate leaders of the auto and oil and gas industry play the card right and take calculated risks, malaysia which is least impacted by the sub-prime recession (thanks to the prudence of Bank Negara, a value inherited from the 1998 era), can emerge as worthy producer of certain high end industries. I am optimistic as you are for malaysia's future. It comes to reducing the weaknesses that we currently have in our systems, which lies in education and social balance.
wow, i think i'll stop here. I've put you on my RSS. Please don't stop blogging. And I hope to see you on the political front one day, we still have a shot. We'll build a better malaysia for all. Remember my cyber name, i'll be your ardent supporter.