KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today lamented Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd’s acquisition of a 49.9 per cent stake in Proton.
Dr Mahathir, who is also former Proton chairman, said the sale of Proton’s stake by DRB-Hicom Bhd to the Chinese carmaker is probably the beginning of an “inexorable process”.
“Proton has been sold. It has been sold to foreigners. They say Proton is my brainchild. Now the child of my brain has been sold.
“Yes. I am sad. I can cry. But the deed is done.... we Malaysians are glad to be rid of this pesky car,” he said.
He said he was sure that Proton will do well and be a commercial success, selling globally.
“Now we can be proud of Proton. With money and superior technology it will compete with Rolls Royce and Bentley,” he said in his blog.
He said, however, that he could not be proud of its success as Proton was now something that did not belong to him or Malaysia.
“Maybe other Malaysians will, but not me.”
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which also owns Volvo, signed on Wednesday an agreement to acquire a 49.9 per cent stake in Proton Holdings Bhd.
Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani witnessed the signing ceremony between Geely Holding and DRB-Hicom Group.
Johari said while the deal would result in DRB-Hicom relinquishing 49.9 per cent of Proton to Geely, Proton would remain the national carmaker and a source of pride as DRB-Hicom would still hold the majority share in Proton at 50.1 per cent.