PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said Malaysia is looking to Japan in creating another national car project for the Malaysian market.
"We want just to build a car first for the Malaysian market, and then for the world market," he told Japan's Nikkei Asian Review.
"We are also looking to Japan for some cooperation at initial stages. Like the first national car (brand), which started with only 18% local content (and cooperation from) Mitsubishi Motor, we were able to master the whole process of building the car, from design to clay-model and test car.
"Today, modern technology is based more on sensors and other things. We need to acquire that also. But initially, we want just to build a car first for the Malaysian market, and then for the world market."
Mahathir said Malaysia still has the majority share of 51% in Proton, but he doesn't know what is the agreement reached between the buyer and seller.
"We had hoped that we would be able to market the car in China," he said.
"But the company believes that Malaysia [can] produce only a right-hand drive car and it should confine itself to the right-hand drive market, which means we have no access to the huge market in China.
"That will limit our growth. We hope, of course, to be able to produce a new car which will conform to the Euro-5 or Euro-6 emission standards, so that we can have access to the world market, even if we cannot penetrate China."