Malaysia’s Proton car manufacturer delivered X70 to Pakistan government as per promise made by Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Pakistan earlier this year.
The X70 was received by Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on behalf of the prime minister in a handover ceremony in Islamabad and delivered by Malaysian High Commissioner Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim on behalf of the Malaysian prime minister.
In Pakistan, production activities of Proton cars are scheduled to begin in 2021 with plans being formulated for the assembly of several models in the country. This will assist the company in achieving its long term goals to sell 400,000 vehicles by 2027.
The new CKD assembly plant in Karachi will be built with an initial investment of 30 million dollars and will create 2,000 direct employment opportunities in its first three years of operations. It is estimated that a further 20,000 indirect jobs will also be created as a result of the new plant being commissioned.
Speaking on the occasion, Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood welcomed the Malaysian company for its pledge to establish a manufacturing plant in Pakistan. He said that Proton cars will observe a lot of potential in the Pakistani market. He said both Pakistan and Malaysia are natural partners who have so much to share with each other.
Under a joint venture, Proton would usher in a new era of auto manufacturing in Pakistan. “I see it as a beginning for more partnership between Pakistan and Malaysia in the future,” the adviser said. He said that the government always laid great emphasis on creating an investment ecosystem for both foreign and local investors.
He said that Pakistan offers attractive investment opportunities and substantial returns in various sectors of the economy. He said that the government is playing a significant role in facilitating entrepreneurs and ease of doing business and there is an enabling environment of investment in various sectors.
Both the countries are working on further extending the trade ties through the economic partnership agreement phase two. He said the government encouraged the Malaysian investors to come and invest in Pakistan. On behalf of Pakistan, “I convey deep love and gratitude to our Malaysian brothers for extending huge cooperation and investment.”
Speaking on the potential for improved business ties between the two countries, High Commissioner Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim said that the High Commission of Malaysia is supportive of the efforts between Proton and Alhaj Automotive to sell and then assemble vehicles in Pakistan.
He said that such commercial activities will contribute towards fostering closer and stronger economic ties between the two brotherly countries. By building an assembly plant in Pakistan with Alhaj Automotive, the Proton hopes to take advantage of reduced duties for CKD vehicles, he said.
Alhaj Automotive Chairman Shah Jee Gul Afridi said that his company will leverage on its current dealerships located nationwide to start selling Proton vehicles as soon as possible while the company is developing standalone 3S/4S outlets.
“We will source CBU units from Malaysia to kick things off in Pakistan before switching to locally assembled units once the new assembly plant begins operations,” he said.