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Chinese company makes Malaysian's train-driven dreams come true

By:   Update:2018-04-02
BATU GAJAH, Malaysia, March 30 (Xinhua) -- When he was a child, Vijayakumar Sundar often built trains and railways with his toy bricks. But it was almost impossible for him to imagine that one day his train-driven dreams would come true with a Chinese company, building trains running across Malaysia.

Forty-year-old Vijayakumar, known as "Vija" to his Chinese colleagues, oversees a state-of-the-art workshop of the rolling stock center of Chinese rail transit equipment manufacturer CRRC, in the quiet Malaysian town of Batu Gajah, some 200 km from the capital of Kuala Lumpur.

Vija hails from the nearby city of Ipoh. As an Indian-Malaysian, he learnt about train travel in India from his family and became obsessed with them. "I have loved trains since I was a kid and I was always thrilled to see them," he said.

So it was natural for him to choose CRRC's rolling stock center over a local company nearly four years ago. "I decided to join the Chinese company because it was the first in Malaysia, so this is was a great chance for me to launch my career in train manufacturing," he said.

Vija joined CRRC as the first batch of local recruits in Malaysia. He received training in China during his first overseas trip and became a technician. When for the first time he saw the train that he built hit the track, he was very proud.

"I could tell my family, my relatives and my friends that this train was built by our local staff as well as the staff from China," he said.

With his talent and hardworking spirit, Vija was promoted to team leader and subsequently section chief, before being appointed as workshop chief recently. The promotion was no surprise to Vija, but the level exceeded his expectation.

"I must arrange my staff to finish their tasks on the day and by the deadline, I must be responsible for everything that happens in the workshop. I am also responsible for staff welfare," he said.

Under Vija's watch, more than 100 Malaysian and Chinese staff and technicians are building trains for Malaysia's Electric Train Service. "We are a family, we work together, we achieve together," he said.

Vija inspects the workshop and talks to his staff frequently, taking up the work himself when necessary even though he's in a management position. It is his leadership style to mingle with the staff, he explained, but also due to his love of the job.

"I love this company, that's why I am here. I worked for many companies before, but CRRC has given me the greatest opportunities in my life," he said, "This company has elevated me to another level, the highest level in my life."

Although the rolling stock center is invested by a Chinese company, there's no doubt that it will increasingly localize its manufacturing, production and management, said Jiang Zhengguang, general manager of the CRRC rolling stock center.

Becoming fully operational in 2015, CRRC rolling stock center can now manufacture up to 200 carriages a year. Some 84 percent of its total staff and 92 percent of the technicians at the production line are locally recruited.

"After several years, we must say that the Malaysian employees are very hardworking and diligent while taking their work seriously. They have also become increasingly approving of our corporate culture," said Jiang.

"As their work years increase and their knowledge on how to build trains deepens, they will take up more work and there will be fewer workers from China. The local employees have a bright future here," he added.

With his childhood dream coming true, Vija now has a higher target. During his trips to China, Vija was impressed by the high-speed trains, and he is looking forward to seeing them in Malaysia.

"I went to China three times, I took the high-speed trains and found that they were of a very high level of quality. There was almost no sound when the train was moving," he said. "We must implement these kinds of high-speed trains in Malaysia."

"I am sure there will be many projects coming in the future," he said, "Here, there's a future for everyone."