Ayer Hitam MP Wee Ka Siong has urged the government to promise that the nation’s third national will not be bailed out or given any special treatment.
He said it is not enough that the government promises that the new company will be 100 percent financed by the private sector.
This is because although Proton had been 100 percent privately owned since 2016, the government had bailed out Proton with an RM1.5 billion soft loan so that it could repay its debts to its vendors and save about 30,000 jobs in Proton and its supply chain.
“Whether Proton is owned by private companies or not, during the 30 years that Proton was in existence, ordinary Malaysians had to bear as much as RM360 billion in the form of higher car prices and its correspondingly higher loans, higher car insurance premiums and higher spare parts cost.
“Other than guaranteeing that Proton will be 100 percent financed by the private sector, our finance minister has to guarantee that no protectionism will be imposed be given that can cause car prices to increase.
“He should also guarantee that the third national car project will also not be bailed out by the government via direct loans, grants or guarantees should it run into financial problems.
“There should also not be any special treatment given to the privately owned third national car company nor should there be any cross-subsidy to their owners indirectly as what happened when a government fund was forced to buy a building at a very high price from the firm that had help bail out Perwaja steel,” he said in a statement today.
Wee was responding to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s remarks in the parliament chambers yesterday, where the latter reiterated that the new national car project being mooted by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be financed solely by the private sector.
He said if Lim could give additional guarantees he highlighted in writing, then the third national car project should and must enjoy the support of all Malaysians including himself.