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Malaysia's Proton gets government bailout package

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Malaysia's government has approved a bailout package of 1.5 billion ringgit (S$518 million) to help struggling national car maker Proton help pay its debts, amid poor sales and heavy losses.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's government has approved a bailout package of 1.5 billion ringgit (S$518 million) to help struggling national car maker Proton help pay its debts, amid poor sales and heavy losses.

The monetary boost comes with conditions that the company draw up comprehensive plans for a turnaround to its dismal performance, according to reports.

A taskforce comprising officials from the government and the private sector is expected to be set up to monitor the car manufacturer's transformation.

"Today's cabinet decision is based on the interest of some 60,000 workers who rely directly on Proton's future," International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama.

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Proton was formed in 1983 by then-premier Mahathir Mohamad as part of an ambitious national industrialisation plan, but it has suffered from a reputation for unimaginative models and poor quality.

Dr Mahathir, who has been leading calls for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down over alleged corruption involving a scandal-laden state fund, resigned as chairman of Proton in March.

AFP

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