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Friday, November 07, 2008

Changes at Proton

KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd is expected to see some major changes to its board, possibly involving the managing director’s position as well.

Sources say that several new appointments are likely to be made to the board. Among the names that have cropped up are Tan Sri Ab Rahman Omar and Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, both of whom were previously with Edaran Otomobil Nasional Bhd (EON).

It is learnt that managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir may leave when his contract expires at the end of next month. Syed Zainal has helmed Proton since January 2006 and has been instrumental in charting the path for the national carmaker in the past two years when a much talked about partnership with Volkswagen AG fell through at the end of last year.

It is said that Ab Rahman may play a more prominent role in the national auto company, considering his years of experience in the industry.

Previously, Ab Rahman was an executive director of conglomerate DRB-Hicom Bhd from February 2006 but left his executive position and was made a non-executive director in December last year. He stepped down from the board in mid-July this year.

Prior to joining the board of DRB-Hicom in December 2005, Ab Rahman was the managing director of Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) from May 1996 to April 2004.

He was also a director of Proton from 1991 to 1996 and sat on the board of EON from 1989 to 1996, and was the chairman of the auto distributor from February 2006 to July this year.

Abdul Razak, meanwhile, could be heading Proton’s international operations, says a source.

He was among the pioneers at EON having joined in August 1984 following a stint at the UMW Group. At EON, Abdul Razak was also the general manager of Proton business in mid-2005.

There were quite a few changes on the Proton board and in its senior management in April this year. Among the more prominent names that left were director of manufacturing Datuk Kamarulzaman Darus, and head of engineering Abdul Wahab Mohd Mohamed Khalid.

There were three resignations from the board, albeit all non-executive positions, from November last year. Datuk Mohd Izzaddin Idris left that month, followed by Datuk Ahmad Hashim in February and Mohamad Zainal Shaari two months later.

So far, only one appointment has been made — that of Datuk Zalekha Hassan, who was the deputy secretary- general of the finance ministry. She was appointed in February to replace Datuk Ahmad Hashim.

Khazanah Nasional is the single largest shareholder in Proton with a 42.7% stake but has only one board representative in chairman Datuk Azlan Mohamed. Previously, Khazanah had up to three representatives on Proton’s board, including Azlan.

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What is the main factor for you to buy a Proton Car?
Low price and no other choice due to budget
Good resale value
Low maintenance cost
Ride & Handling is good
Reliable parts, chasis and engine
Good Styling exterior & Interior
Patriotism (I support Made in Malaysia Products)
Follow others (Follow Majorities should be the best choice)