WALK­ING

The prac­tice of giv­ing needs to be erad­i­cated as much as the cul­ture of tak­ing

New Straits Times - - Viewpoint - The writer feels in a dig­i­tal world, the win­ner does not al­ways take all

sur­vive.

There has been a spate of ac­qui­si­tions world­wide, with Chi­nese and In­dian au­tomak­ers snap­ping es­tab­lished mar­ques such as Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover.

By the way, Jaguar and Land Rover are now owned by In­dia’s Tata Mo­tors.

Malaysians have long suf­fered from steep car prices due to the high im­port du­ties to pro­tect Pro­ton from for­eign brands.

There has been a huge de­bate on whether the na­tional car pol­icy ben­e­fits or bur­dens the na­tion.

Lit­tle known to many, the Pro­ton na­tional car project was launched with­out much con­sul­ta­tion, ei­ther out­side or in­side Malaysia.

It seems that while he was still Min­is­ter of Trade and In­dus­try, Dr Ma­hathir con­tacted Mit­subishi, and reached an agree­ment with the Ja­panese car­maker.

Only a nar­row cir­cle of Malaysians was en­gaged in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Pro­ton’s prob­lems started al­most as the com­pany started its pro­duc­tion. Over the years, it has changed hands many times.

The main chal­lenge is how to sell enough cars to reach a vi­able scale of pro­duc­tion. Its ex­port mar­ket, how­ever, is very lim­ited, even al­most neg­li­gi­ble.

Pre­vi­ous at­tempts to pro­duce an “Asean” car also failed. Two at­tempts to co­op­er­ate in pro­duc­ing a car with In­done­sia also fell through.

In an in­ter­view with this pa­per to­day, DRB-Hi­com group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Al­bar de­scribed Geely as the “best part­ner” for Pro­ton, given its po­si­tion as a global busi­ness group.

“Pound for pound, Geely was the best suitor,” he de­clared.

He said it took more than a year to close the deal. “We needed to find a part­ner that un­der­stood what we wanted and what we needed,” he said.

He said Pro­ton now has a fair chance of mak­ing a strong come­back as a lead­ing car­maker in Malaysia, as well as ex­pand­ing over­seas.

Pro­ton, founded more than 30 years ago, is em­bark­ing on a new and more ex­cit­ing jour­ney with Geely open­ing up doors in China and else­where.

It has to fi­nally make its mark as a global player, well sup­ported by its share­hold­ers, em­ploy­ees and ven­dors.

IN the past few weeks, we have seen a num­ber of ar­rests of po­lice­men which some say shows the gov­ern­ment’s solid in­ten­tions to fight graft, via the force and the Malaysian An­ti­Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (MACC).

If it in­deed sig­nals such, then fan­tas­tic. Noth­ing in­spires con­fi­dence in a gov­ern­ment more than trans­parency and the will to com­bat cor­rup­tion. But how did it come to this point in the first place? We have 30 po­lice­men, in­clud­ing high-rank­ing of­fi­cers, ar­rested for cor­rupt prac­tices, ei­ther by their own col­leagues or MACC.

Yes. They have not been con­victed yet, let alone charged. So, these re­main mere al­le­ga­tions, at least for now. But, even the mere men­tion of graft in a force which is there to keep us safe, pro­tect us and work for us, is just too much.

First, we had more than a dozen po­lice­men in the Nar­cotics Depart­ment picked up for al­legedly col­lud­ing with, quite lit­er­ally, the en­emy. They are sus­pected to be work­ing with drug dis­tri­bu­tion syn­di­cates, in all man­ner of ways.

These in­clude warn­ing the syn­di­cates when­ever a po­lice raid was im­mi­nent, chang­ing urine test sam­ples so that drug tests come back neg­a­tive, mak­ing sure ev­i­dence gets lost, and ev­ery­thing you can imag­ine they could do.

In the next few days, more such po­lice­men were de­tained by Bukit Aman’s elite units, and a ma­jor shake-up in the Nar­cotics Depart­ment is un­der way.

Then we heard of a ma­jor sweep by MACC of­fi­cers in Me­laka. From head­quar­ters in Pu­tra­jaya, MACC of­fi­cers went into ac­tion, ar­rest­ing a num­ber of Me­laka po­lice­men, in­clud­ing the dis­trict po­lice chiefs of Me­laka Ten­gah and Jasin, and the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Depart­ment chiefs of Me­laka Ten­gah and Alor Ga­jah. Also ar­rested were sev­eral other of­fi­cers and po­lice­men from the rank and file.

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