Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin
IPOH, April 18 (Bernama) -- The Perak state government gives full support to Proton in its plan to make Tanjung Malim as the regional hub for the car industry.
Perak Investment and Corridor Development Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin said the state government’s involvement could be seen through the approvals of land belonging to the government and its agencies in land expansion in Tanjung Malim to expedite development and meet the national automotive company’s schedule in its overall plan.
"Proton has its own schedule, so the state government makes this as a stimulus for us to fulfil it," he said to Bernama.
Nizar said with the entry of Geely (Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group), a well-known car manufacturer from China as a strategic partner to Proton, the investor also has strategic vendors and their participation would reduce the price of Proton cars.
This can be done with local companies that produce electronic parts with the assistance of Geely vendors on a joint-venture basis.
He said in October last year, a memorandum of understanding was signed with seven vendors, which make electronic parts and other car components to be brought to Tanjung Malim.
"This means, there’s room for Tanjung Malim to expand further. At the same time, the state government is happy because among the vendors, many of them use raw materials imported from Malaysi. Hence, their presence here will give us the opportunity to maximise (usage) of our raw materials," he added.
Citing an example, he said the raw materials used to make car mirror lining and other components based on rubber could stimulate the economic growth of the nation through the use of local raw materials.
Besides that, he said, the job opportunities created were not only for those who have been with Proton but it also beckons new opportunities.
"If Proton brings workers from Shah Alam, they are only involved in car manufacturing, but when the vendors come here, their presence will open up job opportunities that will develop immediately," he explained.
On skilled manpower required for the new operations, Nizar said the Sultan Azlan Shah Polytechnic in Behrang produced sufficient graduates in automotive manufacturing including artificial intelligence field, computer and others.
"All these will also encourage the polytechnic as it is able produce graduates who can immediately work with not only Proton-Geely but also their vendors. This sector is difficult for us to penetrate if there’s no joint-venture between Geely and Proton today," said Nizar.
He also mentioned on the positive spillover effects sparked by the participation of Geely in Proton.
For instance, the residents around Proton City who want to go shopping currently have to go to Tanjung Malim or to Selangor, and this would invite interest from related parties to establish a hypermarket in Proton City.
"I have been approached by three or four hypermarket operators who seek (government) information on land issues, areas and others to enable them to operate in that area,” he said.
Nizar said besides proving there’s demand for existing hypermarket in Tanjung Malim such as Mydin, it would also create a stimulus in terms of identifying suitable locations.
"They (operators) not only want to provide facilities to the residents in the area, but the hypermarket will also be an attraction for those transferring from Shah Alam as well as the local residents.
"This will also encourage the presence of health facilities including clinics and transportation that will benefit from the Proton-Geely cooperation," he said.
He said this would ultimately stimulate Perak’s economy with the manufacturing sector contributing almost 60 per cent of the state’s gross domestic product.
“Proton-Geely represents one of the components (catalyst) that increases the growth rate of Perak’s economy. In fact, today, we have received requests from the industry to set up base in the area," said Nizar.
Following Proton’s expansion as a result of its joint-venture with Geely, several popular automotive manufacturers have also expressed interest to operate in Tanjung Malim.
Their presence is not to compete but more on cost-sharing.
“Today, we are no longer faced with a competitive scenario or who is better, but more to those who think in terms of cost-sharing. For example, one car battery producer can sell its products for use by vehicle brands such as Nissan, Toyota, Boyue and Proton," he said.