Among the best ways to assimilate into new surroundings and its culture is to learn the language, and so Proton CEO Li Chunrong has initiated a Bahasa Melayu course for 20 Chinese expatriates at Proton, including the CEO himself.

The course began on April 14 this year, and 18 of the first batch of students from the Bahasa Melayu learning programme completed the first level of the language course.

According to Proton, students of this language course were required to undergo a trivia challenge and present a short speech in Bahasa Melayu before receiving their certificates. All showed remarkable progress for students who underwent just 60 hours of classroom sessions, said Proton.

Proton was also commended by Han Culture Centre Malaysia president Datuk Goh Hin San for being the first company to collaborate with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) for running a Bahasa Melayu learning programme for expatriates, the Malaysian carmaker said.

The China connection arose from the Proton-Geely strategic partnership that was signed in June 2017, which was for Chinese group Zhejiang Geely (ZGH) to acquire a 49.9% stake in the Malaysian carmaker, which has also brought Chinese nationals into Proton’s ranks. Proton’s first SUV, the X70 was also its first product to emerge from the Proton-Geely tie-up, based on the Geely Boyue.