Monday, November 25, 2013

Kill Off the Auto Industry

Mahathir Mohamad in his speech to the Kuala Lumpur International Automotive Conference on November 13, 2013 said that the national auto industry must be sustained if we are going to have a positive balance in our trade. 

He was not making any sense at all. Of course, we know very well that he was trying very hard to ensure Proton continue to be on life-support. Yup, it was his trademark gibberish again.

Malaysians know that the Proton national car project is a drain on the country. For this government to “sustain” Proton at the cost of billions to Malaysians is simply untenable. In fact, it is a tool used by the BN government to achieve not national interests but the vested interests of those in UMNO and their cronies for the purpose of making the latter fabulously rich!

I am reminded of a Gary Johns article I read in The Australian which discusses the dilemma faced by the Australian car industry. Government support remains very significant and “the infant industry remains so. In competition with much bigger and cheaper competitors it never had a chance. It did its job to help secure an industrial base in a less specialized world. But the world is now one big supply chain and Australia has to sell into it and buy from it” (November 19, 2013, p 10). 

The auto industry in Australia, it was suggested, is in its death throes. The only way to keep it alive is protectionism and of course, continual dollops of cash! 

The situation in Australia is not any different from Malaysia. Okay, maybe with the exception of the rent-seeking culture and cronyism that are typically found in my country. 

The recommendation that the government’s kindest act would be to cut off its life line applies not only to Australia but also Malaysia! I would rather have Proton cars be quickly forgotten because they represent poor design, poor performance and poor quality. 

SK Khor invited me to be the emcee for the 9th Annual International Mastering IT Project Management Conference – the theme was "Breaking Out of your Comfort Zone" and I gladly accepted. It was held at Dorsett Grand Subang Hotel today and it featured a strong line-up of speakers that impressed the 340-odd audience. MITPM 2013 served as a platform for prominent international practitioners to address the ever-growing demand for knowledge, best practises and experience-sharing opportunities in innovation, technology, and project management. 

I think I did a good job too. Fellow Sunway University Toastmaster, Thinesh Naidu also helped out.


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