KUALA LUMPUR: The national car maker, Proton is a failed, white elephant project, said Tourism and Culture minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
He said the failure has caused the current government to bear the heavy burden and as for now, the government will no longer be able to back Proton.
“The project is a failure. They are asking us (government) for money. All the time, billions of ringgit.
“How can it (the project) be successful if every year, you keep coming back to the government for money,” he said in response to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comments of Proton’s equity being sold to Chinese car manufacturer, Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.
“This project to me is a white elephant project. We inherited it from him (Tun M) and if it goes down, then he will blame us (saying) that we have failed.”
Nazri said selling off some of Proton’s equity could overcome the current losses that Proton is facing now.
“We have to find ways on how to save this and by the Chinese (company) taking up some equities, I think it is a good deal. We had to carry his burden and we cannot afford to support this company anymore.
“One of the ways to overcome this is to sell the equity. So, the failure is not ours (the government), but his pet project,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nazri said the arrival of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud to Malaysia showed that there were no shady deals in the RM2.6 billion donation to Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“If there were any ‘shady’ dealing with Malaysia, then he would not want to be associated with Malaysia at all.
“The fact that the Saudis came in big numbers (its delegation), it shows the confidence and support they have towards the leadership of Malaysia,” he said.
Asked if the arrival of King Salman to Malaysia was to dispel the rumours that the RM2.6 billion came from 1MDB funds, Nazri said he doesn’t know. However, he added that if King Salman was not comfortable with what has been reported with regards to the RM2.6 billion, then he would not have even visited Malaysia.
“To me, this dispels whatever negative perception people have towards Malaysia,” said Nazri.