Pro­ton, Peu­geot in talks on part­ner­ship

New Straits Times - - News -

PU­TRA­JAYA: Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak yes­ter­day con­firmed that French car­maker Peu­geot is in se­ri­ous talks with Pro­ton Hold­ings Bhd on a pos­si­ble part­ner­ship.

“De­ci­sions are not con­cluded yet, but (there) could be a pos­si­bil­ity,” he said, with­out go­ing into de­tails.

Na­jib was speak­ing at a joint press con­fer­ence af­ter his meet­ing with French Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande, who was on a two­day state visit that ended yes­ter­day.

It was re­ported last month that Peu­geot had sub­mit­ted a bid to buy a stake in Pro­ton.

Pro­ton re­mains Asean’s only full-fledged car man­u­fac­turer that car­ried out re­search and de­vel­op­ment, de­sign, man­u­fac­tur­ing, distribution and sales.

Other na­tions in the 10-mem­ber Asean do not have a fully homegrown car man­u­fac­turer.

Pro­ton is strate­gic in many ways, in­clud­ing be­ing lo­cated in the cen­tre of Asia, the world’s fastest grow­ing eco­nomic re­gion. Pro­ton’s Shah Alam and Tan­jung Malim assem­bly plants have a com­bined ca­pac­ity of up to 400,000 cars per an­num.

Na­jib also ex­pressed Malaysia’s grat­i­tude to Hol­lande when France did not agree to a bill to tax Malaysian palm oil, which he de­scribed as an en­cour­age­ment, stress­ing that the palm oil in­dus­try was be­ing man­aged in a sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly man­ner.

“We en­sure that it is a bal­anced de­vel­op­ment, as many peo­ple de­pend on palm oil as a source of their liveli­hood.”

Last Septem­ber, Plan­ta­tion In­dus­tries and Com­modi­ties Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said Malaysia would en­gage in high-level dis­cus­sions with French par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to ur­suade France not to raise du­ties on Malaysian palm oil, which has a 21 per cent im­port tax.

Hol­lande said France was aware of the im­por­tance of palm oil to Malaysia’s econ­omy.

“We make sure that the is­sues of palm oil are be­ing treated fairly.”

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