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Call for public debate whether
Volkswagen should be allowed to acquire up to 30% stake in Proton
(Parliament, Saturday): The government investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd yesterday denied that it has any plans to divest all or part of its existing stake in Proton Holdings Bhd. in response to a media report stating that Volkswagen AG was in discussions to purchase a substantial stake of up to 30 percent in Proton.
Khazanah, a controlling and
active strategic investor with a 42.7 percent shareholding in Proton, said
it was constantly looking at ways to increase shareholder value and enhance
investment returns. It remained committed to supporting the board of
directors and management of Proton in its current efforts to improve
operations and the strategic position of the company, including the ongoing
discussions with respect to a proposed alliance with Volkswagen AG.
Nadzmi had disclosed that the leading American automobile maker General Motors had shown interest in acquiring a stake in Proton, but government overprotection had caused Proton to lose the opportunity to establish a strategic alliance with the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer.
General Motors later went into Thailand, and although Thailand started its automobile industry much later than Malaysia, our neighbour has achieved faster growth in the automobile industry as to be regarded as the “Detroit of the East” or the vehicle assembly and export hub of Southeast Asia.
The recent headline news in the global automotive industry about the £50 million ($US87 million) sale of Britain's MG Rover to China's Nanjing Automobile Group Corp (which may be challenged in the courts by China’s biggest carmaker and rival bidder, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp) illustrates the new international trends in the automotive industry.
Volvo, for instance, though generally regarded as a Swedish car is owned by Ford while the traditionally British Rolls Royce is now BMW-owned. Volkswagen has bought up Skoda, although it is still generally regarded internationally as a Czech car.
There should be an informed public discussion and debate on the future of the first national car, in particular whether Volkswagen should be allowed to acquire up to 30% stake in Proton, as this is an issue which concerns the 26 million Malaysians and not just the Khazanah Board and the government
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman