Indonesian President Joko Widodo or Jokowi recalled the dashing ride he had with Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a ‘test’ driver.
The story was told by Jokowi during Dr Mahathir’s visit to Indonesia yesterday.
The visit coincides with Dr Mahathir’s bid to revive an Asean car project that got massive backlash in Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir decided to revisit the idea of an Asean made car – with Indonesia as a partner in mind – after his last month visit to Japan.
Dr Mahathir said he will create another national car to boost Malaysia’s car export capacity. The idea was heavily criticised by netizens, ignoring the PM’s plans to create the new company primarily with export objectives.
Japan will be a major technological partner in the new project and the funds to jumpstart the project might also come from the Japanese.
The Malaysian PM has also hinted that Malaysia will be granted a loan in Japanese Yen.
During his visit to Bogor, Mahathir hinted about the cooperation agreement signed between him and Jokowi in 2015.
At that time, the idea was to rope the national car Proton in a production with Indonesia. The aim was to create a car that will be accepted across the Asean.
It would have boosted Proton’s failing exportation capacity, while the Malaysian company would have had a footing in Indonesia itself.
There was no follow-up to the idea after Dr Mahathir’s fallout with ex-PM Najib Razak that led to the ouster of the Barisan Nasional from power on May 9.
Jokowi recalled that it was in 2015 when he visited Malaysia’s Proton where he met Mahathir to test (test drive) a Proton model.
Unexpectedly, Mahathir was the driver with Jokowi as a passenger. Although elderly, Mahathir’s ability to drive at a speed of 180km per hour, speeding on the streets of Malaysia, was surprising.
“I remember well in 2015 when I visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I was invited by Mr. Tun Mahathir to test drive a Proton car, driven by Mr. Mahathir at 180 kilometers per hour very fast,” said Jokowi laughing.
Mahathir was in Indonesia for an official meeting with Jokowi at the Bogor Palace, West Java.
“I was not afraid and do not worry because the driver is Tun Mahathir. If the driver was not Mahathir, I think I would be afraid,” said Jokowi.