THE RM1.7 billion promised by the federal government never reached ailing car maker Proton, said former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.
In the latest entry to his blog Chedet.cc, he said Proton was used to “satisfy personal vengeance” and sold to a Chinese company instead of being bailed out.
He said the government’s action showed that “vengeance was more important than dignity”.
“By selling Proton, we are admitting failure and therefore, our progress towards becoming a developed nation had been crippled. Yes. Dignity has a cost. We would still be able to save Proton if the government had not used taxes collected from people to bribe for support,” he said.
“Compared with the profits made by Malaysian businesses today, the tax collection is higher than back when the days Proton sales were booming. But the national debt has grown higher. Where have all the government funds gone? Has it been pocketed by certain individuals?” he asked.
DRB-Hicom Bhd sold a 49.9% stake in Proton Holdings Bhd to China-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group on May 24.
But it was also reported that the federal government extended its line of credit amounting to RM1.7 billion, on top of a RM1.2 billion soft loan last year, to support mounting operational costs and lacklustre sales.
According to Dr Mahathir, Malaysia has strayed far in restoring national pride since Medeka in 1957. It has abandoned auto manufacturing as the catalyst to achieve developed nation status by 2020 and to increase national income.