Jan 9, 2007

Tun Mahathir Suggests Replacing Proton's Present Management Team

Proton's day is numbered.

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 8 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Monday suggested that the present management of Proton Holdings Bhd be replaced to prevent the company from "going down the hill".

Speaking at a news conference here to announce the convening of an international conference next month to make war a crime, he alleged that Proton's business partners were suffering due to poor sales of Proton cars.

"The vendors are suffering, the dealers are suffering because they can't sell the cars," he said, adding that there was "a lot of things" that people did not know about Proton.

The national car manufacturer has not been as profitable as before and its market share has eroded in recent years amid rising competition from local and foreign car makers.

Dr Mahathir, who is Proton's adviser, said that he was not aware at which stage of negotiations Proton was currently at in finding a strategic partner.

He said that it was up to the government to decide whether Proton should have a foreign or local partner.

The government owns a 59 percent stake in Proton, including a 43 percent stake held through its investment arm, Khazanah Nasional.

Proton is in talks with Volkswagen AG and PSA Peugeot Citroen for a strategic partnership while several local companies, namely Naza Group, Mofaz Group and DRB-Hicom, are keen to acquire Khazanah Nasional's stake in Proton.

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