National automotive company Proton is expected to lose RM1 billion annually if not restructured, said Prime Minister Najib Razak.
He said last year, the company suffered a loss of RM500 million on the back of discouraging sales of about 72,000 units at 6,000 monthly.
“The government in 2016 assisted with a soft loan of RM1.5 billion and this year, there was an additional request from the aspect of research and development (RnD) of RM1.1 billion.
“We are using the people’s money to save Proton as 60,000 people are dependent on the company…so how long more,” he said his speech at the breaking of fast event and launch of phase eight of the Rural Streetlights Project at the Paroi Jaya mosque, in Seremban yesteday.
Elaborating further, Najib said the restructuring was not a decision based on emotion, but one related to ” the “life and death” of the company.
“We do not want a businesses that is dead, nor one that is paralysed, but a profitable business….we cannot be proud of a national car but have billions in losses. We should be proud of a national car that turns in a profit and benefits us.
“What is important is to manage the business until it turns in a profit,” he added.
He said the decision regarding Proton was also not a question of pride in wanting to defend the 100%equity, but better to just have a 51% stake to ensure a profit.
“That is why we chose the better option of a reduced equity but having a profitable business, and in this regard, everyone needs to understand the situation.
“We will do what is the best for the people of Malaysia and not seek to cheat them…similar to the Goods and Services Tax to strengthen the financial position.
“The GST will be channeled to the health sector, schools and more recently, RM500 as special assistance for Hari Raya Aidilfitri to civil servants and RM250 to pensioners totalling RM1 billion,” Najib added.
Meanwhile, the lighting project involves 4,337 streetlights of 500 High Pressure Sodium Vapour units in each of the eight parliamentary constituencies in the state at cost of RM3.4 million with Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) undertaking it. –Bernama