Cabinet firm on aid issue


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 30 Oct 2003

BY SA’ODAH ELIAS

PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet is standing firm on the issue involving the US Senate’s decision to place restrictions on American aid to Malaysia. 

The Cabine reaffirmed that the Government would not be influenced or threatened by anyone. 

Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who steps down as Prime Minister tomorrow, said the Cabinet made the decision at its meeting here yesterday. 

In the latest development, President George W. Bush said his administration was against the senate decision to place the restrictions to show American displeasure over remarks made by Dr Mahathir on Jews. 

According to the reports, the Bush administration was against the move because it wanted to give Malaysia’s new leadership another chance. 

The US Senate had unanimously agreed on Monday to place conditions on the US$1.2mil (RM4.56mil) mili-tary training assistance to Malaysia insisting that the United States supported and promoted religious freedom, including for Jews. 

Asked to comment on the latest development, Dr Mahathir said:  

“Thank you very much. But we run this country in our own interest, in our own way. Others cannot influence or threaten us,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of an agreement on technology co-operation between Proton and Iran’s Automotive Industry Development Company (Aidco) at his office yesterday. 

Dr Mahathir said the stand against the US Senate was not his personal stand but that of the Government. 

On the co-operation between Proton and Aidco, Dr Mahathir said it was one way of proving to the world that Muslims were quite capable of developing new technologies. 

“We hope this will help correct people’s wrong perception of Muslims and our capabilities,” he added. 

The agreement was signed by Proton chief executive office Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff and Aidco chief executive officer B. Alimoradlou. 

Under the agreement, Proton will supply to Aidco Malaysian designed and built vehicle platforms and Campro engines and assist with developing the research and development and manufacturing capabilities until 2020. 

Aidco, which is a subsidiary of the Iran Industrial Development and Renovation Organisation, is responsible for two of Iran’s biggest car manufacturers: Iran Khodro and Saipa Khodro which jointly controls 90% of Iranian automotive market. 

Tengku Mahaleel said this was the first time Proton was offering Malaysian automotive technology and engineering capabilities to a third party. 

In return, he said, the move would give Proton access to a market that had the potential to buy over one million cars a year. 

The agreement also paved the way for a joint venture company to be formed between Proton and Aidco that would be licensed to assemble, manufacture and sell Proton’s new generation “C” segment vehicles under a brand name to be mutually decided.  

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