: Joint-ventures have become the norm in the motor vehicle industry to-date as not many carmakers can stand on their own feet, with examples such as Nissan-Renault and Cherry-Jaguar Land Rover.
In a statement today, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, said the decision to partner Proton Holdings Bhd with Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group Co Ltd was purely a commercial one made in the best interest of Proton, its vendors and employees.
Mustapa said this in response to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's comment on the recent Proton-Geely partnership.
"It is unfortunate the government's sincere intention and unwavering commitments of wanting Proton to succeed were labelled by Dr Mahathir as an act of vengeance.
"It (partnership) was made after taking into account a number of factors, including the benefits to be derived from Geely's technology, research and development facilities and injection of cash," he said.
Mustapa also questioned the point of maintaining 'national pride' as claimed by Dr Mahathir if it meant letting the national carmaker continued to bleed and jeopardised the welfare of its workers.
"Furthermore, to repeat the allegation that we are sacrificing national pride is pointless as evidenced by the Perodua-Daihatsu partnership and many other joint-ventures. We live in a highly-globalised environment and in order to successfully compete globally, we must pool together our resources and forge ahead.
"To the critics of the Proton-Geely partnership, I say enough is enough. Proton will have a foreign strategic partner moving forward but Malaysia still retains majority control. Proton is known globally as a Malaysian brand and nothing can take that away from Proton," he said.
Mustapa also denied allegation that the government has not disbursed the RM1.5 billion soft loans funds promised to Proton in April 2016, which was made conditional upon Proton securing a foreign strategic partner.
He said the government has disbursed RM1.25 billion to Proton which was largely used to settle the outstanding payments to its vendors and balance of RM250 million would be disbursed in about a week.
"Proton has been coming to the government with a number of export promotion plans in the last five years. Unfortunately, none of them has materialised," he said.