Almost every newspaper and blogs have demonstrated that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is wrong in pushing for a third national car after the Proton fiasco.
But the good doctor is not paying attention to criticism, instead, he is going forward with the idea and has decided to launch the third national car project by 2020.
Leaning on the Japanese experience – where Dr M is set to spend a few days there as from this week – the old fox said in one of his blog post that his deal about another national car is exactly about building from scratch.
He said at the time the first Japanese car came out on the roads in Malaysia, people were saying if you scratch the paint, you will see the tin box. It was so frail, indeed, that it did not get the approval of the public at the beginning.
But in the end, it is Japanese cars that are dominant on the roads in Southeast Asia, he hinted.
In his usual cynism, Dr M also said this success will not be seen in Malaysia. “We will continue to make milo tin cars.”
He also said the project is bound to fail because too many people are against the idea, but then, he added that Japan and Korea have their own cars made for the public and by private companies, not by a government-linked or a government agency.
“Japan has their own cars and Koreans too, and that is because they forbid foreign car imports,” he wrote, hinting at the need to control the import of cars perhaps, into Malaysia.
He attributed Proton’s failure to the import of cars, even made of milo tins, that has ravaged the market share of Proton. In the end, the national car died out after it was sold to a foreign entity, he wrote.
The Chinese desperately bought over 49% of Proton under the Najib Razak’s reign while Najib was also desperate to kill Dr Mahathir’s legacy in his rage against the old man.
But now, Dr Mahathir is hitting back hard.
The government believes that the project could revitalise the national automotive industry, said a Minister according to Bernama.
The PM is banking on the export potential for a new car from Malaysia, given that Proton is still in a decomposition stage and is not ready to compete against the big boys in the local market itself.
Dr Mahathir has already instilled the need for a successful car project in Malaysia and has decided that Putrajaya will have to work with stakeholders from Japan, Korea and Asean partners to revive Malaysia’s ailing automotive and car making industry.