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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Star: Dr M resists entry of more foreign assemblers

The Star: Sat, Sep 18, 2010 at 10:45 am

Dr M resists entry of more foreign assemblers


KUALA LUMPUR: The Government should re-think allowing foreign carmakers to set up assembly plants in Malaysia as the move may not benefit the country, says Proton adviser Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"We cannot have access to these countries that want to invest in Malaysia as they imposed a lot of restrictions to the extent that we cannot invest there, but they can invest here."
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) said on Wednesday it was evaluating applications from five foreign carmakers keen to set up assembly plants in Malaysia to assemble cars below and above 1,800cc.

MIDA is expected to decide on the carmakers' entry in the next few months.

The agency said carmakers from India, China, Japan and South Korea had shown keen interest to manufacture hybrid and electric cars. With the revised National Automotive Policy, foreign carmakers can own manufacturing plants that produced luxury vehicles with an engine capacity above 1,800cc and costs more than RM150,000 a unit.

The Malaysian automotive industry is also seeing a surge in foreign interests this year, with two local firms - Naza Nasim Sdn Bhd and DRB-HICOM Bhd - securing production rights to rands such as Peugeot and Potenza.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir also said the Government should ensure it does not get a raw deal when making deals with foreigners.

"When they don't open up but we open up, obviously we are not going to benefit from the deal," he told reporters after opening the First Sovereign Advisory Sdn Bhd, the first Islamic value-based financial advisory firm.

In a related development, Dr Mahathir said Proton was only keen to work with other companies and has no intention to merge with them as it was now on a sound financial footing.

"Financially Proton is okay," he told a media briefing here Friday.

Proton would be able to evaluate the value of its assets after a restructuring, he added.


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