Sources say if Zainal Abidin were to take up the challenge, it would be like a homecoming for him as he had started his career in the automotive industry with Proton. Zainal ... started his career with Proton An industry observer familiar with his career path says Zainal Abidin was roped in to work at Proton's manufacturing plant by its former chief Tan Sri Yahya Ahmad.
...Zainal Abidin later joined DRB-Hicom Bhd at its subsidiary Malaysian Trucks and Bus Sdn Bhd, rising through the ranks to become its chief executive officer before joining Perodua as head of production.
At the end of 2001, he
was made one of the four executive directors of Perodua
Auto Corporation, the 49%-owned manufacturing arm of Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) and whose other shareholders are Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd
(41%) and Mitsui & Co Ltd
A good choice," says the industry observer in reference to Zainal Abidin
has been in search of a CEO since the company decided not to renew Mahaleel's contract in September amid controversies over his
criticisms of the national carmaker in a newspaper report. Proton
had earlier said its headhunting agency had come up with a list of 40 potential candidates, including foreigners, to fill the vacant post.
When contacted, a Perodua
official said: "We've heard the rumour (about Zainal Abidin's
appointment) but I'm not at liberty to comment." Proton's
officials could not be reached for comment.