BD having Malaysia’s Proton eyes car plant

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Malaysian automobile company Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd, widely known as Proton, hopes to open a production plant in Bangladesh soon, creating employment opportunities for Bangladeshis.

Former Malaysian prime minister and newly-appointed Chairman of Proton Mahathir Mohamad disclosed the information at a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Mahathir was making a courtesy call on Hasina during her three-day official visit. The meeting was held at Hasina’s suite at the Hotel Grand Hyatt.

Press Secretary to the Prime Minister AKM Shameem Chowdhuri said Mahathir had highly praised Bangladesh’s progress in all sectors.

Hasina invited Mahathir to visit Bangladesh.

Proton has been eyeing Bangladesh as a manufacturing base for some time.

A meeting in September between a two-member delegation from the car company and top officials of the Commerce Ministry including senior commerce secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon was held to discuss the matter.

Proton Senior Executive Norman Be Karidi and Executive Fatin Otsman visited Dhaka in September to discuss the car company’s future plans in Bangladesh.

Managing Director of PHP automobile industry Mohamamd Akter Parvez Chowdhury and an advisory engineer, Mohamamd Ali Chowdhury, represented the company’s local partners in Bangladesh.

Local business conglomerate PHP Group will be the local partner of the joint venture of the automobile plant in Bangladesh, said a source in the Commerce Ministry.

At the meeting in September, the Malaysian team recalled that the economy of two Asian countries, Bangladesh and Indonesia, were not affected by the global economic recession that lasted from 2007 to 2009.

The Malaysian team was interested in assessing the strategic advantages of exporting cars from Bangladesh, Shawkat Ali Waresi, an additional secretary, told the Dhaka Tribune during the meetings in September.

“As Bangladeshi export items go to European Union countries under the least developed country category, potential car exporters will get the same export facilities,” he said.

Local demand for the car is bright, delegates said, since the annual income for a big portion of the population is now around US$20,000.

Malaysia also confirmed its interest in other large projects in Bangladesh.

It expressed an interest in developing a large low-cost high-rise housing project. There are initial plans to build 43 blocks for the housing project.

The expression of interest in the Kamrangirchar housing project on the outskirts of Dhaka city came in response to a request by the prime minister to Dato’ Seri Samy Vellu, special envoy of the Malaysian prime minister on South-East Asian affairs.

Hasina made the request for Malaysian co-operation on the project yesterday during a courtesy call paid by Samy on the prime minister at her hotel.

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque told reporters that Samy said the Malaysian side would send a technical report to the prime minister and that the Malaysian government would finance the project.

The Malaysian envoy further showed interest in the implementation of a crude oil handling project at Single Point Mooring in Chittagong and in selling 400 railway coaches to Bangladesh.

Source: DT

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