A factory established by Chinese locomotives manufacturer CRRC in Batu Gajah, the capital of Kinta District in Malaysia's Perak-state, has been transformed into an endearing workspace drawing local Malaysians and their Chinese counterparts closer.
CRRC (Photo: CRRC official website)
The rolling stock center operated by CRRC has become a source of employment for locals in the area, and by extension an important part of the interactions between the workers of both countries.
Asmah Harif's 35-year old son Mohammad Hafiz works as a skilled worker at the center and is ethnic Malay but has absolutely no problem working harmoniously with his Chinese counterparts and is in fact very pleased that he is part of the team.
"My son is working in such a factory, I am very happy," said Asmah who was previously forced to work some 240 km from home in Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Mohammad Hafiz, who leads a team specialized in installing windows on train carriages, expressed satisfaction with his job which allows him to work in his hometown, giving him more time with his family.
"My hometown is not developed and it is difficult to find a factory or business that suits my employment.
"I am very happy that Chinese companies are building factories so close to my home. I can spend more time with my family after work. I think our factory is the best among the similar companies," said Mohammad Hafiz who attended CRRC's Hari Raya Opening House Day recently with his wife and three children.
The three children of Muhammad Zulhilmi, another Malaysian worker, were delighted to be in the train cab in the workshop and fiddled with the controls to vie to be a "little driver", while taking photos of the trains themselves.
Since 2016, CRRC has invited government officials, customers, teachers and students, family members and other local people to visit the center to see the production and commissioning of the Malaysian electric multiple units (EMU).
Chen Zengping, an employee from Zhuzhou, Hunan, said that the Chinese employees and their local counterparts get along very well.
He said that some enthusiastic local colleagues organized their Chinese colleagues to fish, climb mountains and to have picnics besides inviting them to local festivals to cheer up those who are homesick.
Another Malaysian employee, Winnie, 27, said that the company took a special interest in the welfare of employees such as marking their birthdays with cakes and vouchers, something she said was absent in other places.
"Gifts coupons also raise the spirits of those receiving them," she said.
Huang Hai, the chairman of Malaysian CRRC Rail Transportation Equipment Co., Ltd. said that in 2011 and 2012, CRRC Group established two subsidiaries in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur CRRC and Malaysia CRRC.
The two companies took the initiative to assume social responsibilities and actively participated in volunteer work during the floods in 2014 in the state and during heavy rainstorms in Penang in 2017, winning wide acclaim from Malaysians with the Malaysia CRRC being awarded the 2017 Malaysian Charity Award for its efforts.
After years of exploration, China CRRC's "Public Open Day" in Malaysia not only brings together customers, employees' families, residents and fans but also offers station visits, train test rides, and other events.
Interaction with locals has brought the company and the community closer, forming a close family-like bond and the factory from China has become a good neighbor of the community.