Najib mocks Dr M over new affinity for Proton-Geely

Justin Ong
Najib questioned today whether Dr Mahathir’s government has similarly altered its stance on other projects involving China’s investors such as the Forest City development in Johor and the Melaka Gateway, given recent remarks. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak noted today that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s current support for Geely’s involvement in Malaysian carmaker Proton stood in contrast to his previously vehement opposition to the sale.

Najib, under whose administration the sale to Geely was brokered, also reminded the prime minister of his expressed grief over the news of the takeover in 2017.

Just a year later, he pointed out Dr Mahathir’s apparent pleasure when witnessing the signing of an agreement between Proton and Geely, at the Geely headquarters in Beijing, China last week.

“Despite Tun Mahathir’s previous slander and criticism, yesterday saw an announcement that proved the decision last year was a positive step for all.

“As many as 60,000 jobs were saved and Proton is now in a stronger position for growth,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Proton was set up by Dr Mahathir in 1983 and remains the epitome of the former prime minister’s industrialisation policies.

It came under the private ownership of the DRB-HICOM group in 2012, which subsequently sold a 49.9 per cent stake to Geely in 2017.

At the time, Dr Mahathir reacted negatively to the sale and said Proton could no longer be regarded as Malaysian.

Najib also questioned today whether Dr Mahathir’s government has similarly altered its stance on other projects involving China’s investors such as the Forest City development in Johor and the Melaka Gateway, given recent remarks.

He noted that the Pakatan Harapan government told Parliament that it will not block the sale of freehold property in Forest City to foreigners while the chief minister of Melaka has since dubbed the Melaka Gateway a vital project for the state.

“Even though BN and I were viciously slandered then, I am happy that the BN government’s previous steps are now proven to be beneficial to the public.”

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