Mahathir quits as Proton chairman

PHOTO: Reuters

PETALING JAYA - Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has quit Proton.

To top it off, he has also quit from almost all his government-linked positions as he continues to blaze the Citizen's Declaration campaign to oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Dr Mahathir's decision to quit as Proton chairman and all the other government-linked posts came just days after Singapore's Straits Times reported that Proton's request for a RM1.47bil grant was put on hold although the national car maker was unable to pay its suppliers in the face of mounting debt and poor sales.

In a statement, Dr Mahathir's office confirmed that he has resigned as the Proton chairman as of Wednesday.

His letter of resignation was sent to DRB-Hicom Berhad group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar.

Dr Mahathir has also relinquished his post as the Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Petronas, as adviser to the Langkawi Develop­ment Authority (Lada) and the Tioman Island Development Authority.

His decision to quit all other posts came after the Cabinet removed him as Petronas adviser effective March 11 for asking the Prime Minister to quit over the controversial 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Corporate figure Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir said his father did not offer any explanation as to why he was quitting all the government-related posts at once.

"But quitting Proton is a big decision as it was close to his heart.

"Perhaps my father wanted to give the new Proton CEO an opportunity to succeed without any commercial and political hindrance," he said.

Mokhzani said Proton was his father's pride and joy, as Dr Mahathir succeeded in unveiling the first national car - the Proton Saga - just two years after mooting the idea in 1983.

Proton Holdings Bhd said in a statement that Dr Mahathir's resignation from the chairman post would be effective immediately.

"Concurrently, Tun will also step down as chairman of Group Lotus plc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Proton," the statement read.

Proton recorded its appreciation to Dr Mahathir for his valuable contribution, commitment and dedication in carrying out his role as chairman since 2014 and as adviser since 2003.

"We would like to express our gratitude and recognise Tun Dr Mahathir's role as the creator of the national car company," said Proton.