TOTAL VISITORS FROM 2008:

THE RAW HATRED FOR PROTON 1

proton1. The raw hatred for Proton by some members of the media is quite unprecedented. Nothing is right about Proton. It should really be bankrupted and closed down. That will reduce the price of cars so everyone in Malaysia can own a foreign made car.

2. Firstly car prices are high because taxes are high. But the detractors will say the taxes are high to protect Proton.

3. The protection for Proton is minimal. Most of the exemption from tax that Proton gets can also be obtained by foreign cars if they are prepared to have 90% local contents and are made locally which Proton has achieved.

4. But who cares whether the local contents are high or low. I think we should care because the local contents and local car production have created almost 250,000 high-income jobs directly and indirectly. Imported fully-built-up cars create jobs in their own countries. Do we want 250,000 people to lose their jobs so foreign workers will benefit!

5. Then there is the acquisition of technology and engineering knowhow. We were just assembling foreign cars at inflated cost due to very low deletion allowances in 1983 when Proton was launched. Today we have the capacity to design, build prototypes, test and produce our own cars. Acquiring this capacity carries some cost. But because of Proton’s needs we have produced highly qualified engineers and technicians. And we are not penalised by low deletion allowance for high cost parts.

6. Do we need this capacity? We have ambitions to become a developed country. Can a country of consumers of foreign products ever become a developed country? We see some very rich countries with no industrial capacity at all. They buy everything from foreign countries. Can we say they are developed? We need industrial capacities and sophistication if we aim to become a truly developed country. We need scientists, engineers, inventors, innovators, highly skilled workers etc. etc. We will not have them if we cannot create jobs for them. Proton create those jobs.

7. How much has the Government paid to have Proton? Four hundred million Ringgit. Proton borrowed 800 million Ringgit which it had repaid. Compare this with what a Japanese company and the GM in the U.S. spent recently merely to develop and produce electric and hybrid cars – 5 billion US dollars each. They have still not got it right. To start an automotive company in Europe and America at the time we started would require billions of dollars. The Government spent only 120 million US Dollars.

8. The Malaysian Government promised to give 200 million Ringgit a year for Proton’s research in hybrids and electric cars. Hardly a fraction of this fund has been given to Proton. There is no record of 3 billion Ringgit being given to Proton by the Government. On the other hand Proton financed the construction of the Tanjung Malim Plant at 1.8 billion Ringgit using internal funds. Incidentally the Government has collected billions of Ringgit from Proton through various taxes, directly and indirectly. Of course the Government would collect the same or more from imports. But to import, the outflow of funds would be more than the taxes collected.

9. But let us close down Proton and buy foreign cars. The outflow of Malaysian money due to import of cars every year totals 20+ billion Ringgit. Automotive components and cars exported from Malaysia earn us four billion Ringgit. Net outflow is 16+ billion Ringgit. Close down Proton and the outflow would be 20 billion Ringgit or more.

10. Government is subsidising fuel amounting to almost 24 billion Ringgit a year. The tax on cars is high because the Government needs to recoup some of the subsidy money. With or without Proton the taxes are needed by Government. Outflow of funds will increase our trade deficits.

11. The sales of Proton cars has not been good lately. The new management and owners have to do a lot of cleaning up. Proton has now decided not to produce inferior cars for the Malaysian market and then upgrade them for the foreign markets. That was the original policy.

12. Proton now produces cars for domestic and the world market conforming to Euro 5 and other world standards. Go test the Prevé or Suprima S. They are superior to the old Proton cars. Proton intends to keep up with the sophistication of the imports. In fact in many respects they are superior to imports of the same class. Imports were given exemptions from conforming to Malaysian standards. Proton never seek to be exempted.

13. But superiority comes with a cost. Malaysians complain about the performance of Proton cars before but now that we produce better cars Malaysians must be prepared to pay a little bit more. Remember even the best brands have to recall hundreds of thousands because defect cause accidents and deaths.

14. If we look around we see many of the European and American brands have disappeared. But Proton is still around. That in itself is a minor miracle in the automotive world.

15. Proton is determined to not only survive but to do well as an industry and a business. The detractors can say what they like. That will not deter Proton. We in Proton look upon our work as a mission. We think we are contributing to the development of Malaysia as a really developed country. It will take a little time. But we are determined to make a success of this the only car from a developing country.

One comment on “THE RAW HATRED FOR PROTON

  1. nadiahebat May 25,2014 10:15 PM

    Tun, with all due respect, I for one understand the basis of this hatred, but I am not one to linger on the problem, but more on the solution. but before I proceed further, I must share with you that I am patriotic when it comes to things that Malaysians have done right. Therefore, lets try to make this right. Make proton right again.
    Cars are not my passion. But forward thinking is.
    I used to think that we should switch this mediocre car maker, to focus their efforts for more useful things like submarines. thinking again, I wouldn’t want to put lives under water in danger, judging by the sound of how proton car doors sound when they close. so here goes my thoughts on a new proton (seriously need to rethink the name).

    First and foremost, when I think about my next car, I think how much us humans have changed doing things today, as compared to 100 years ago. how we call our parents to keep in touch every week. Now even the calls are scarce, not because we don’t care. but its becacuse we’re always in contact with them via whatsapp group. and we get to tell the whole family what we’re up to right on the minute. how we don’t press the dial to unlock the phone, but we tickle the screen instead. so how would I expect to be driving my next car?
    1. it has GOT to have a cool name. protons and ions are a thing of the past. How about The Stealth? or something cool like the iTransporter. or an usTransporter for an MPV. to Malaysian-ize it, how does Helang Buruan sounds like? that would really save me the trouble of giving my car a new name every time I get a new car.
    2. Petrol subsidies are a super big issue here. Lets save the government and The rakyat some money and create FULLY electrical cars. Forget about hybrids. In China, they purchase a unit of a good European brand machine, and learn from it, study the technology, and sell at one third the price of the European brand. I know how capable Malaysians are. Like I said, I have no passion for cars. but you are, Tun. and im sure you have heard of Tesla Motors. I would have no complaints, and im pretty sure no rakyat will ever complaint about the national car brand if we could come up to mark to a Tesla’s model.
    3. Tesla motors have free charging stations along the highway, and in between states. It would cost a lot to set up such stations. But we do have our Malaysian petrol stations, PETRONAS. What if we hop on their wagon, and do all the rakyat a favour, as well as proton a favour. A customer of tesla car had fixed solar panels in his house, and therefore, when he charges his car, he is in fact driving around, without incurring any additional cost to himself, no pollution to the air, and no lost of resources. It would be a shame to waste our 365 days of summer sunshine. so, no more stops to the petrol station for me in my new car, hopefully.
    4. Fully electrical cars have no heavy engine, less chance of your radiator over heating, or some pipe or hose bocor. Save a lady like me trouble of having to call for service by the roadside of some dangerous highway, with high chances of getting robbed. No engine, therefore, more space for that balik kampong trips esp for typical malay families with 5 children or more. No engine sound, so musically inclined people like myself can have music played at a reasonable volume without breaking the ear drums when the car is at a stop.
    5. Updates. Automatic through wifi or internet connection. My phone does it all the time, and saves me from forking out money everytime a new model is launched. and I have been using the same phone for 5 years now. with no sign of giving way. So our rakyat’s car will always be updated, and not out of date. Worry not about not being able to sell more cars. Im sure if our cars are up to mark, our neighbours would be more than willing to buy our cars.
    6. something different. Hondas and Toyotas are abundant. They share a similar trait. its called Japanese technology. But if you buy my ideas, our rakyat’s car will have something different. It will have Malaysia in it. And I believe our rakyat have the talents and ability to pull this through. to build a fully electric Malaysian car with all the small details of a tesla or with even better specs.
    7. Tesla motors offer a guarantee of resell value if the financing is by themselves. How about it? Besides, who would know better of the car, if not the makers themselves?
    8. Nobody needs to make anymore money from the rakyat, let alone the Malaysian car makers themselves. if we can have a kedai 1malaysia, lets have a Malaysian price tag to these Malaysian cars.

    in light of the environment, of the rakyat, of the government subsidies, of the Malaysian car pride, of the Malaysian economics, towards first world problems, I hope to hear of the Helang Buruan/Stealth/iTransporter launch soon.
    Once we have that, next, lets talk about having hoovers to go to work with. Traffic free hoovers.

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