DRB-Hicom to continue managing Proton despite 49.9% stake sale

KUALA LUMPUR: The management of Proton will continue to be led and overseen by its parent company DRB-Hicom Bhd, despite the sale of 49.9% of its stake.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (pix) said he understood that the deal involving China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd would have no significant impact on the executive aspect of Proton Holdings Bhd.

"We understand that DRB-Hicom will continue to lead in the management of Proton. That's the information I received.

"But of course, it's a business decision. So whatever it is, we leave it to the company to decide what is best for them," he told reporters after attending a seminar on the Asean Economic Community (AEC), here, today.

When pressed further for comment, Mustapa said: "You'll have to ask DRB-Hicom, because they own Proton. It was a private decision, so we leave it to them."

DRB-Hicom had, on May 24, reached an agreement to sell a 49.9% stake in its loss-making Proton to the Chinese automotive company, with Geely also acquiring a 51% stake in British automaker Lotus from Proton as part of the deal.

Meanwhile, Mustapa said the ministry would be launching the Asean Circle on June 18, a programme that would gather local prominent figures from various sectors to discuss the country's push for better business opportunities in Asean.

"We will have politicians, corporate figures, academicians, civil society, and think tanks, among others, and have regular discussions, maybe once a month.

"It will be a small group of 30 to 40 people, and they will come up with fresh ideas on how to move things," he said.

Mustapa added that he would be meeting with the Asean secretariat in Jakarta soon to discuss on methods to reduce and subsequently abolish non-tariff measures in the region altogether.

"Our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had said in the recent Asean Summit in Manila that we need to focus on non-tariff measures that are slowing down our business development. So I plan to fulfill that instruction," he said.