Proton has defended its decision to give a special discount to members of the Federation of Hokkien Association of Malaysia, after critics deemed the policy racist.
Nanyang Siang Pau had reported on Thursday (Jan 18) that the automobile company was offering members of Chinese guilds under the federation special discounts of up to 10 per cent.
“Any Malaysian of Fujian origin who purchases Proton cars will enjoy our most preferential prices ever,” Prooton’s CEO Li Chunrong was quoted as saying.
The announcement was soon met with outrage as some groups and social media users called the company racist for offering preferential discount to a certain ethnic group.
Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia vice-president Abdul Rahman Mat Dali was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying that the policy was discriminatory.
He also said: “This is strange. Never in the history of Proton has something like this happened.”
But in a response later on the same day, Proton clarified that the special promotion for the Hokkien association was part of its promotions for corporate sales and fleet sales customers.
“It is a common business practice in the automotive industry to offer corporate sales discounts based on bulk purchase and fleet sales,” the statement said.
The statement also added that it was common for Proton to offer promotions to corporate customers, associations, organisations, and institutions.
“(T)herefore, Hokkien Federation is not the special case,” it said.
Proton also said that it has implemented similar discounts for customers from various Malaysian cooperatives and organisations.
“Any cooperatives, organisations and associations that buy certain volume of cars are also entitled to this corporate sales special arrangement, subject to terms and conditions between Proton and the said parties,” the company said.