Malaysia was also incapable of providing a large enough domestic market for the intended amount of produce planned, thus the need for these type of corporations arose.
Not long after the introduction of Look East, the Japanese economy experienced many years of stagnation and recession after its economic bubble burst during the early 1990s.
Since the car industry is depended on other industries, like rubber, electronics and metalwork, the launch of the nation’s own car industry would support the market demand for these raw materials.
The project was also made possible with the joint venture between the Heavy Industries Corporation of Malaysia (HICOM) and Japan’s Mitsubishi.
By 1988, the percentage of Japanese staff involved in the project was reduced to two-thirds.
The first Proton Saga car rolled off the assembly line in 1985.
Singapore too initiated a “Learn from Japan” campaign in 1978, it was only time before Malaysia decided to learn from the Japanese as well.
The Look East Policy was launched in late 1981, at the beginning of Mahathir’s career as Prime Minister.
It became an instant hit in the country and was apparently the most popular car in Malaysia during the first two years after its launch [Rajendran 96].
The car dealer that was responsible for marketing the Proton Saga, Edaran Otomobil Nation (EON) carried out the exportation of the cars and the Proton Saga actually won two British awards.