KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd, which may partner one or more China automakers for its Asean car project, will likely roll out its first product in 20 months.
International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said Proton was currently in negotiations with a few automobile companies in China including automaker Geely.
“Things are moving positively. They say they need 20 months from now to build a plant and roll out the first car,” he told a media briefing after launching the Productivity Campaign here yesterday.
The campaign aims to foster productivity culture in the society, especially among youths, as they are an important asset for the development and progress of the nation.
Ong said these partnerships would enable Malaysia to leverage on China’s strong research and development, thus improving Proton cars and enabling the company to come up with a competitive model for the Asean market.
He said the regional automotive sector offered significant potential, given the large population, expanding middle class and strong purchasing power.
“We must act fast to capture the market. If we can produce cars to cater to this market, it will be highly beneficial, given the various regional free trade agreements,” he said.
On the recently launched Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, which saw Malaysia advancing two spots to 18th place out of 140 economies, Ong said this was clearly a testament to Malaysia’s strong fundamentals.
He noted that there were 12 assessment areas to the index, including infrastructure, financial market and education.
“Based on facts and figures, our economic foundation is strong. However, we are lacking in terms of perception.
“To fix this, everyone, from the leaders to the people, must work together to rebuild confidence in our economy,” he added. — Bernama