“It all began in 1979. Malaysia’s Father of Modernisation, Tun Mahathir Mohamad, (then the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia), mooted the idea of establishing an automotive assembling and manufacturing industry in our country. It was Tun Mahathir’s dream to accelerate Malaysia’s industrialisation capabilities to match those of developed nations. His dream became one step closer to reality when the Cabinet approved the National Car Project in 1982. Proton was officially incorporated on May 7, 1983. The first model, the Proton Saga, was commercially launched on July 9, 1985. The name “Saga” was chosen by Ismail Jaafar, a retired military soldier, and derived from “saga” (Adenanthera pavonina), a type of seed commonly found in Malaysia. The first new market for the Proton Saga was Singapore, right across the Straits of Johor.