KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday (Jul 16) expressed disappointment that his idea for a second national car has not been well-received by the people.
Dr Mahathir said he was informed that no one wanted to see another national car being developed as most of the people regarded “it was enough” having the Proton, which has been deemed to be a failure.
In a posting on his blog, Dr Mahathir sarcastically remarked that “we are not qualified nor capable of having an automotive industry”.
Malaysians, he said, were prepared to buy imported cars, including from China, and also get Japanese-made and German-made cars, especially those who could afford them.
"I still remember the Japanese car after the war. As users, if we scratch with our fingernails, we’ll see Milo tins, but it is from these Milo tin cars that came the various models, such as Toyota, Nissan and Suzuki which we are now using.
"Certainly this will not happen with Malaysia. Our car will always be made from Milo tins forever,” he said.
Dr Mahathir clarified that the government had no plans to make the proposed second national car as a government-owned automotive industry.
He said the private sector in the country was now capable of designing, making clay models and test models, as well as produce cars on a large scale.
“But, because early on we have rejected the idea of a second national car, then we will oppose all proposals to produce cars by the private sector. Certainly, the government will not have a government-owned automotive industry,” said the prime minister.
Dr Mahathir said the country’s market was now full of imported cars, both of good quality and also the Milo tin type.
"Produced by giant companies, they monopolise Malaysia’s car market so much so that it buried Proton.
“In the end, Proton was sold to foreigners. There is no more national car, no more automotive industry. Workers, engineers, managers are also out of jobs. Everything drops.
"Malaysia becomes a consumer country, padi farming country, fishing. It’s alright. This is what we want and this is what we get. Just forget about Vision 2020,” said Dr Mahathir.