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Malaysia Drops Car on North Pole

April 22, 1998 GMT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Malaysian sky divers parachuted the national car to the North Pole this week. Many Malaysians wondered why.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad praised the feat, saying, ``we might seem to be taking our economic problem lightly, but it bolsters our spirit.″ But some citizens derided the drop as a gimmick intended to draw attention from the flagging economy and a water shortage.

``This doesn’t help us at all. It proves nothing,″ said construction manager John Choy. ``I’m too busy worrying about my own financial problems during these tough times,″ said Peter Lee.

The 16-member team that accompanied the Proton Wira sedan to the North Pole stayed there for two hours yesterday. Team member Abdul Rahmat Omars said the four-door sedan started up right away _ despite the freezing weather.