August 28, 2017.
Recollections & Reflections – A weekly column by Aziz Hassan
IN recent months the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has been making quite a fair bit of statements, especially on the integrity pledge, and most recently on developments after investigations started on the illegal factory in Sungai Lembu near Bukit Mertajam.
Those who follow the MACC closely can tell that this wasn’t the case under the leadership of its previous chief commissioner.
Anyway, the first was a statement to give Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng 48 hours to apologise over comments linked to the arrest of state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh.
If indeed Lim had done that in contravention of the law, what the MACC has to do is to simply take legal action. Why the need to warn him or give him the chance to make good? Not surprisingly, Lim has chosen to keep mum.
Then there was this statement directed at DAP politician and Phee’s lawyer, Ramkarpal Singh.
MACC chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad should know that he’s also dealing with politicians and politicians think they are at their best when their lips are not sealed. Get involved in a verbal spat with them and you may end up going beyond your limits as a public official.
What people expect of the MACC is for them to go after the corrupt without fear or favour and without having the MACC to keep on telling the public that this is exactly what it will do.
Again, arrests and prosecutions mean nothing, regardless whether it’s an ikan bilis (anchovies) or a jerung (shark) we are talking about.
What matters above all else is that bloke who is taken to court is found guilty and thrown into jail, for as long as possible. That’s all that is needed to convince the public that you are truly doing a good job.
Another national car? If someone is prepared to lose billions of ringgit again, why not?
Former (Umno) prime minister and now opposition party chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is all for another national car if given a chance. In so saying he has also taken aim at Proton, a company he started and later chaired, alleging that the national car’s business has slipped since forming a partnership only some months ago with China’s Geely.
No specifics were given for that statement so we’ll not go further into it.
In declaring his intention, Mahathir also spoke about the spin-offs from having a fully Malaysia-owned Proton. He talked about the vendors and jobs and what we have lost following the tie-up with Geely. Mahathir conveniently didn’t say anything about the benefits of being partly owned by a company that is big enough to also buy over Volvo, a big name globally in the automotive industry.
No one is disputing the spin-offs but name one company in the world that continues to operate while losing millions of dollars or ringgit a year just to keep its vendors and their employees alive? Which company exists on such a model?
The fact is many things went wrong for Proton along the way after its inception in 1983.
From having about half the Malaysian market share from the mid-1990s, when it made money, things started to go wrong about 10 years later. During a big part of this period Mahathir was very much in power and in control. So what made it go wrong and why?
According to reports from the Malaysian Automotive Association and other sources, Proton was ranked third up to last July in terms of sales, behind Perodua and Honda. Percentage-wise its share was only 13.80% compared to Perodua’s 35.
The market for new vehicles in Malaysia is not big, with annual sales touching about 666,500 in 2014 and 2015 but down to 580,124 last year. Up to last July, total sales reached 333,010.
In view of this the alternative would be to try and sell overseas but even here Proton’s sales have dipped badly.
However, who knows, someone with pockets so deep may agree enough with Mahathir’s plan to be willing to pump in the big money needed but highly unlikely.