Proton – The First Mahathir Legacy To Be Destroyed? Good Riddance

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Jul 03 2015
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The next time you visit Malaysia, observe something very peculiar. As a tourist, you would probably see drivers open their car’s door, instead of roll down the window, to pay parking or toll fee. This magnificent phenomena is due to the fact that Malaysian drivers have not recovered from a “permanent mental damage” caused by national carmaker – Proton.

Proton Cars Window Problem - Offers Lifetime Warranty

Majority of Malaysians have seen their fair share of new Proton cars with windows that cannot be wound down after some time, a permanent defect which not even NASA rocket scientists could fix. It was such a common problem that owners found it more cost-effective to open their car’s door, instead of paying hundreds of ringgit every now and then trying to fix the unsolvable problem.


Hence, tourists to Malaysia cannot claim to have visited the country if they haven’t experienced or discovered such amazing sight. And this is also one of Mahathir, the architect of Proton project, humiliating legacies. Together with PLUS expressway, Perwaja steel manufacturer, Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya, Penang bridge, and whatnot, Proton is another “P” legacy under Mahathir’s belt.

Proton Domestic Market Share Shrinking - 2001 to 2014

Ever since its establishment in 1983 till today, Proton has been sucking tens of billions of dollars in public money, whenever it needs a bailout. Proton used to dominate the local industry to the tune of 80% of market share, but has since plunged to as low as 17.4% for the year 2014. Toyota and Honda were closing in with 15.3% and 11.6% respectively. Perodua topped the market share with 29.4%.


The RM42 billion 1MDB scandal also saw punches being thrown into the ring involving Mahathir’s legacy, as revealed by the 89-year-old former prime minister himself. He claims Lim Kok Wing, the new chief propagandist hired by PM Najib, had warned him about legacy destruction. Mahathir then cheekily suggested Najib blows up PLUS highway or Petronas Twin Towers.

Mahathir Launches Proton Iriz

There’s little doubt that Najib the son of Razak, together with tactical scientist Habibul Rahman and propaganda specialist Lim Kok Wing have “quietly” started demolishing Mahathir’s legacy. Of course, they can’t possibly blow up infrastructure such as Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya, PLUS highway or Penang bridge.


But they can certainly destroy Proton, which is also known as having “Milo tin quality” among Malaysians as far back as 1980s. Mahathir’s latest bitching was about the prospect of hundreds of thousands losing their jobs because Najib administration favours competition in the local car industry.

Mahathir Mohamad Staring

Obviously, Mahathir, who is also the Proton chairman, isn’t amuse that since the liberalisation policy under NAP (National Automotive Policy) in 2006, foreign brands have more than doubled to 53% of market share in 2014, as compared to 22% prior. He conveniently ignores how 30 million people have been subsidizing his “ThunderCat” car.


In his trademark sarcasm, he claimed Proton was prevented from being imported into Japan, Korea, Germany, China market by imposing strict conditions and standards. So, Malaysia should not let other foreign brands coming into the country too. There you go, Mahathir’s infamous “selective amnesia” and “junk talks”.

Proton Car Milo Tin - Preve Drive It To Believe It

The Proton Wira, Satria and Putra models were aggressively exported and marketed across the European Union and Middle East during the 1990s. They were also allowed into the Australia and New Zealand market. At its peak, Proton exports to over 70 countries, spanning all six continents. That speaks volumes about how good a liar Mahathir is.


In reality, Proton has exported over 400,000 cars between 1986 and 2013, with 151,441 units sold in the U.K. alone. In case Mahathir tries to play his racial card again, Proton has sold 186,842 Gen-2 and Persona models in China between 2008 and 2013. So, it’s not true that foreigners deliberately stop Proton from being sold in their countries.

Proton UK Sales Office

Proton had attempted to enter the American market in November 1988, but failed to meet strict US automotive regulations. When even the early batches of Proton Waja model introduced in 2000 did not come with basic safety features such as airbags and ABS, how on earth do you expect the American authorities allow Proton into their country?


Putting strict regulations aside, Proton models do not appeal to consumers elsewhere, as can be seen in the Asian market itself. If you can’t even convince your buddies within neighbouring countries which have very little restrictions, you simply can’t succeed in the competitive western countries, unless your price is as low as a bicycle (*grin*).

First Proton Saga Launching - Mahathir

To be fair, the very first model of Proton Saga introduced in 1985 was really a solid car. Besides being one of the most powerful car in its class, it also didn’t have window problem. Then, came Mahathir cronies whereby all his immediate family members, relatives and hamsters were given the exclusive distributorships supplying parts to Proton.


In order to maximise profit, the inexperienced and greedy cronies decided to cut every single corner they could think of. The results – inferior spare parts but sold at prices that could send Mercedes and BMW to the hall of shame, literally speaking. It wasn’t about the welfare of 12,000 Proton employees that Mahathir is concerned about. It’s about his cronies who are still controlling the profitable supply chain.

Proton Car Logo Badge ThunderCat

Forget about Proton. If the country can let go of MAS, despite the sentimental value, surely one can throw Proton logo out of the window. Try selling Toyota Vios and Honda City at RM40,000 and see if any Malaysian would cry about the death of Proton Saga. The sooner Najib kills Proton, the better. He can be guaranteed of thousands of new votes if he can bring Toyota and Honda cars as Proton’s replacement.


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