KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has asked Proton Holdings Bhd to start talks with other carmakers on a partnership because Volkswagen AG is not interested.
“I have made the decision that since Volkswagen is not interested in the proposal that Proton wants in terms of the equity participation but they want cooperation in some other form, Proton can begin to talk to others,” the Prime Minister told reporters after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting last night.
Besides the German carmaker, US-based General Motors Corp had in the past expressed interest along with French PSA Peugeot SA to work with Proton.
When both the car manufacturers pulled out, Volkswagen became the forerunner.
However, the March 31 deadline to announce the strategic foreign partner of Proton passed without any development.
The Government’s investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, is offering its 38% equity in Proton for sale to save the carmaker from further losses.
Local automotive companies who have been eyeing a stake in Proton include Naza Group, Mofaz Group and DRB-Hicom Bhd.
Abdullah also called on Proton to do whatever necessary to turn around the national car industry.
It was announced yesterday that Proton’s net loss was RM591.4mil for the year ending March 31.
On whether there was a need to revamp the top management of Proton, Abdullah replied: “They have to do whatever is necessary.”