Father of Proton aims for ‘supercar’ status

Dr Mahathir Mohamad is known as the father of Malaysia’s national car.

ISTANBUL: Dr Mahathir Mohamad, known as the father of the Proton national car, said today he plans to promote collaboration with Turkish companies in the production of a “supercar” in order to further enhance the capability of Malaysia’s automotive industry.

Mahathir said he had long been aware of the capabilities of Turkish companies but was only able to see it first-hand now, while on an official visit here, Bernama reported.

“I was aware of their capability. But there was no follow-up at the time as I was not the prime minister then, so making progress would have been difficult.

“And now they are ready to collaborate … not only with that type of car (supercar) but also with other cars,’’ he told Malaysian reporters at the end of his official visit to Turkey.

He said his meeting with Turkish businessmen on Friday was a good opportunity to promote Malaysia as an investment destination and a trading hub in Southeast Asia.

Mahathir also said Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) success in managing Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISGIA), Turkey’s second biggest airport, showed the capability of Malaysian companies to expand their operations abroad.

He said although MAHB operated airports in several other countries as well, ISGIA was the largest, handling 34 million passengers annually.

“It’s much larger than KLIA and its management is something special. There are people who recognise our capability in this field and give us a lot of opportunities,” he said.

Mahathir visited ISGIA, which was taken over entirely by MAHB in 2014, and witnessed its operations.

Opened in January 2001, the airport is the second busiest in Turkey and the world’s busiest single-runway airport and terminal.