DRB-Hicom Bhd will keep the national car, Proton, as a legacy of the Malaysian car industry and let it continue contributing economic benefits to the country.
DRB-Hicom chairperson Mohd Khamil Jamil, said Proton has contributed a lot to the country – jobs, taxes, research and development and many others.
He dismissed reports DRB-Hicom would dispose of its entire stake in Proton Holdings Bhd, saying the brand is a Malaysian icon.
“I don’t think Proton will stop, or DRB-Hicom will stop,” he said on the sidelines of the launch of Pos Laju EziDrive-Thru by Pos Malaysia Bhd, a 53.5 percent-owned unit of DRB-Hicom.
Khamil, who had served as executive chairpeson of the board of directors at Proton Holdings from March 19, 2012 to May 16, 2014, said this in response to a reporter’s question on the recent reports on a potential disposal of DRB-Hicom’s entire stake in Proton.
“I’m no longer in Proton’s management but I see the carmaker is going to the right place right now. From day one when DRB-Hicom acquired Proton Holdings (on March 15 2012), it has always been its intention to look for a strategic partner.
“We acknowledged the fact that despite being the only national car, as well as for the region, Proton Holdings will not be able to expand or produce more cars without a strategic partner, because we are a young industry in Malaysia.
“It has always been our intention and we are scouting around and looking. In fact, we had a discussion but unfortunately because of certain issues and terms and conditions, we were unable to seal the deal.
“Now, with the new management in Proton Holdings, I think it will be able to work hand-in-hand with the government and we are appreciative the government is sensitive to the industry and supports Proton,” he said.
In a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, DRB-Hicom said, it had ruled out total sale of Proton.
It said Proton Holdings was currently undertaking a Request For Proposal (RFP) exercise seeking a partner for the company.
The exercise was expected to be completed in the first quarter 2017 and precluded a total disposal of its stake in the group, it said.
Proton Holdings said the RFP implementation was being overseen by the Task Force Committee formed by the government to monitor the turnaround of Proton.
DRB-Hicom’s shares on Bursa Malaysia rose six sen to close RM1.22 with 14.2 million shares traded today.