Government has no intention to buy back Proton, says Dr M

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PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the government had no intention of buying back Proton from Geely as it does not belong to Putrajaya.

Speaking at a press conference after chairing his first Cabinet meeting here this morning, Mahathir said Proton belonged to tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

“Whether he wants to buy it back or not depends on him. The government does not intend to buy it back,” he said.

Last July, Mahathir said he had never considered selling Proton but was merely looking to establish cooperation with international car manufacturers.

This was after former minister Johari Abdul Ghani announced a deal between DRB-Hicom and Geely, saying Proton would remain a national car as DRB-Hicom still held the majority share of 50.1%.

Proton, which was established by Mahathir in 1983, was still seen as a national carmaker even after coming under private ownership by the DRB-Hicom group in 2012.

At its peak, Proton dominated local automobile sales with the bulk of new passenger cars sold coming from its factories. Over the past 15 years, however, it fell behind other brands such as Perodua, Toyota and Honda.