China Geely Introduces Meritocracy – But Handicapped Proton “Bumiputeras” Aren’t Happy

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Feb 12 2018
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In December 2017, about 6 months after China automaker Geely agreed to acquire 49.9% stake in Malaysia home-grown but ailing carmaker Proton, 28 top Proton dealers were taken on a trip to visit Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd in China. The 28 Proton’s top sales and service centre owners were both impressed and flabbergasted from their trip to Shanghai.


Ryan Lai, director of LHM One Stop, a Proton 4S center, said – “The service centre has a waiting lounge that looks similar to that of a five-star hotel. Usually, the atmosphere can only be experienced by European premium car owners but Geely is offering such a service to customers.” Mr. Ryan was also amazed by the quality of Boyue, which reminded him of premium German SUV back home.


Geely Boyue is set to be introduced as Proton’s first SUV in Malaysia this year. It was quite funny that while Proton has been fantasizing about electric cars and even flying cars, they couldn’t seem to make a decent SUV for Malaysia, a home-grown market which they had dominated for decades until the emergence of Perodua – a 10 years younger brother.

Proton Journey - First Saga Car

Proton, of course, was one of many Mahathir’s pet projects which had become zero from hero. Established in 1983, Proton used to dominate the local market, commanding 80% share once upon a time but has since deteriorated to only 13% in 2017. Dr. Li Chunrong, a 30-year auto veteran knew about the history of the 35-year-old Proton before he steps his foot on Malaysian soil.


Dr. Li knew about the classic “power window” problems – and jokes – associated with Proton cars before he officially takes over the role of Proton CEO beginning October 1st, 2017. Although he was amused it would take decades for Proton to solve a simple problem such as power-window, Li Chunrong also heard about corruption practise in Malaysia.


Besides Dr. Li Chunrong, the acquisition also saw the “invasion of China” in order to turn around Proton – CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Daniel Donghui Li and Hong Kong-listed Geely Auto group Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Feng Qing Feng as well as Geely international business vice president Dr Nathan Yu Ning as nominees to the board of Proton Holdings.

Geely-Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong

But what shocked Proton’s new CEO and his comrades from China the most wasn’t the poor quality of Proton or rampant corruption in Malaysia. After all, China was once top producer of inferior products and corruption. Instead, the Chinese were shocked and electrified by the Proton’s culture of excessive racism intertwining with nepotism and cronyism.


From cooking “kangkong (water spinach)” at Proton canteen to competing on level playing field, the Chinese management team could have finally found their real challenge. As the Chinese struggle to put the newly acquired foreign asset on the right track of profitability and competitiveness, a group of ethnic-Malay isn’t impressed with the new way of running the company.


The “Pekema” (Malaysian Association of Malay Vehicle Importers and Traders) claimed bumiputera distributors are facing subtle discrimination and may soon be replaced by non-bumiputera distributors. The term “bumiputera”, loosely translates to “son of the land”, is something which CEO Dr. Li Chunrong found quite frustrating yet entertaining.

Proton Car Salesroom

As efficiency and competition are two words fabulously alien to Malaysian bumiputera, of whom are mostly ethnic-Malays, Proton’s new direction for its distributors to upgrade from a 1S (sales only) centre to an integrated 3S (sales, service and spare parts) centre within a year was seen as a mission which is simply too impossible to achieve.


Pekema president Zainuddin Abdul Rahman claimed that most of the 3S centres are run by non-bumiputera (mostly local ethnic-Chinese) and 1S centres by bumiputera (ethnic-Malay). Therefore, Mr. Zainuddin accused Geely Chinese of trying to kill off ethnic-Malay simply because the persons in charge of Proton’s development and sales are (mainland) Chinese.


Without him realizing, Pekema is admitting that ethnic-Malays are inferior, even in comparison to local Malaysian ethnic-Chinese. Mr. Zainuddin also essentially admits that for the last 35 years, the Malays could only survive because of unfair preferential treatment at the expense of Chinese. But the real humiliation is this – Chinese could somehow prosper even under discrimination.

Pekema President Zainuddin Abdul Rahman

Zainuddin also claims that Proton will only allow 3S distributors to sell the upcoming Boyue model. It appears that the Chinese Geely is gearing to not only jumpstart local distributors to be competitive globally, but also to be providers of excellent customer service while improving overall quality by cloning the same business model from China – and the pampered bumiputeras aren’t happy about it.


Perhaps Pekema hasn’t heard of value-added services. Gone were the days where distributors could enjoy good sales and commissions without lifting a finger. Proton sales personnel, who used to be extremely arrogant during the good old time, are not only struggling but also competing with each other for sales today.


Hence, in order to attract sales and long-term revenue, a Proton distributor has to offer  additional values such as service and spare parts, not only sales alone. The business-savvy local Chinese knew that and has been investing their hard-earned profits back into their companies by gradually upgrading them to integrated 3S (sales, service and spare parts) centres, unlike the bumiputera.

Geely Boyue SUV

Now that Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. wants to move forward to improve Proton, those integrated 3S centres – who happens to be local Chinese-owned – are ready to rock and roll. Does Pekema really think that the Chinese giant with a market capitalization of over US$200 billion would give a crap about some weak, lazy and pampered bumiputera salesmen unready to compete?


Pekema president Zainuddin Abdul Rahman also tried to bring racism into business by whining and bitching about the corporate discounts given by Proton, such as that given to the Federation of Hokkien Association of Malaysia. But having a special discount wasn’t a new policy introduced by the Proton’s new management team.


Its common business practice in the automotive industry to offer corporate sales discounts based on bulk purchase and fleet sales. Of course, Malaysia is the only country in the world that when the government purchase in bulk, the prices would normally jacked up – instead of lowered – to meet corruption and under table “coffee money” practices.

Proton Service Center

With Geely running the show, apparently bumiputera such as Pekema is at the receiving end and couldn’t face the reality of business world. Lacking basic fundamentals such as hard work, persistence, resilience and meritocracy, those “handicapped sons of the land” have transformed into crying babies who throw tantrums because their candies have been taken away.


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This had me in stitches. Please email me the name of the journalist so I can follow all his/her work henceforth. I haven’t stopped laughing yet and most definitely cannot every time I remember the impossibilities that he/she had highlighted. Brilliant.

The Bumis just want easy money, no need to work hard culture all this while has made them even more lazy than their forefathers. They are so full on the ketuanan mentality that any effort to rescue Protons looks like a Chinese invasion into their rights. It’s so comical.

HAHAHAH…Hello 兄弟, you are surprised? SELAMAT Datang ke land of endless possibilities, corruption, racism, ketuanan, agama, bangsat & 9 village heads…and lastly 兄弟, you better ask the PLO to ensure that the ketuanan elcheapo NGO lackeys won’t be out demonstrating, rioting and waving little kris to stab you & your Management team! HAHAHAH!

Where did the writer learn their English? Manglish much?

Good job!
However, please, the word Bumiputra is very racist to the core. I am a bumiputra too. Only I am not – that Bumiputra.

i can’t imagine what will happen to 1 malay guy, become China citizen by any means (possible??), and came out on the internet to bash those native chinese citizen & government for protecting their own national interest, corruptions, racism and religion.. and yet, i dont see any malays do that. Only Chinese in malaysia can do as such without any shame.. **clap**clap** keep it up.. we all knew u guys too well by now..

It’s no surprise you won’t find malays in China with the reason being the majority of you (excluding the capable and patriotic ones) are too incompetent to survive overseas. With a minority of Chinese here you are already struggling and need “special privileges” to cover up for you lack of ability. In China, where the culture of hard work and perseverance is deeply embedded into the very fabric of society, what do you think will happen to you? Not to mention many of you are arrogant and think that the Malay language and culture is no.1 under the heavens. Bahasa Melayu paling hebat kan? Takyah belajar bahasa mat salleh dan komunis. But you do not realise the heavens you see is the view of a katak di bawah tempurung. In this era of globalisation, only a select few of your race have the wisdom and skills to survive overseas, while the rest of you are doomed to die in Malaysia. Even indonesians fare better than you because while they place pride on their identity as indonesians as well as their own ethnic cultures, they are accepting of outside knowledge as well, whereas you are stuck in your dreams of your “Zaman Emas Kesultanan Melaka” and “bahasa melayu lingua franca laut selatan cina”. Lastly, I would like to add that last i checked, malaysia is a multicultural country with people from various ethnicities, whereas china is not (as all the ethnic tribes there are “chinese”, or have been assimilated into chinese culture”. Hence, it is perfectly normal should the choose to adapt policies which benefit their own people. If you are a foreigner who manages to get chinese citizenship (which is extremely difficult, lazy to explain u can read urself), you will be 100% accepted in China as one of their own (unlike a certain country where certain races end up.as 2nd class citizens to a bunch of ultra supremacists).As a Malaysian, our enthic identities are second to our status as a Malaysian citizen, at least to me. Why should anyone be treated any lesser than another? Whats ironic and even hypocritical is that Malaysia once cut all ties with South Africa due to their system of apartheid where blacks were discriminated in favour of whites. How is this ketuanan melayu any different? Because it’s “less discriminatory”, “less offensive”? You steal 2.6 billion, you steal 26 sen, you are still a thief. Meritocracy is the way to go in malaysia. There are scholarships for those who are needy, and if you can’t get it it means you have been naturally selected against. There is no cure for a lack of intelligence, and the government should not implement laws to try and lower the standards because that way incompetent people end up in high posts and cause a lot of problems. While there are doctors and engineers, we also need people to clean their toilets. Regardless of your race be you chinese malay or indian, sometimes your fate is just this. Blame your ancestors, you god, and yourself if applicable for not working hard enough or leaving you with shit inheritance. But before you scream like a little baby and cry foul, know that our chinese ancestors started out as tin miners who left all they had to work in a foreign land hostile to outsiders. Our ancestors worked hard for our future, what were your ancestors doing? Perhaps you, who is reading this right now, is the “first generation ancestor” of your future descendants, who will one day lead them to economic prosperity. But until then, everything is just a dream if you do not change your lazy, arrogant and entitled ways.

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