Auto industry captain morphs into social worker and wouldn’t have it any other way.

POSTED BY Yamin Vong ON 23 March 2018

He has achieved and had it all before – the post of chief executive officer with the luxuries of having a top floor corner executive suite as well as the services of a bodyguard, driver and two personal assistants.

However, now that he is entering his 70s, his focus on life has changed and the Gen X of the Tan Chong family have different ideas on getting things done at the company.

“I’m very happy with my new life,” says Datuk Dr Ang Bon Beng, the veteran chief executive officer of the Tan Chong Motor group in charge of the Nissan and Renault franchises.

A file picture of Datuk Dr Ang Bon Beng (right) receiving his Automotive Man of the Year 2009 recognition at the New Straits Times/Maybank Car of the Year 2009 awards.

“I am already pushing 70 and I don’t want to exchange my life for money. It is high time that I use my time to do things that make me happy while also enriching society,” he says as he sips a cup of coffee at the Waterfront of Desa ParkCity.

“If you want money, then money is never sufficient. What I have now is a simple and comfortable life, I drive myself and I feel so comfortable wearing sandals.

“Good friends call and visit, and we invite each other for makan.

“More importantly, I spend much more time managing and working at an old folks’ home that I have been involved with since its beginning.

“The Rumah Sejahtera Permatang Tinggi at Bukit Mertajam was started by the late Tan Cheng Bee, then the MP for BM, and I’m one of the pioneer volunteers.

“I split my days about 60% at BM and 40% at KL to look after the old folks’ home which has a capacity for 100.

“We’re very selective about who gets admitted because it’s 100% free of charge. The guests must be more than 60 years of age, have no son or sons, and they must be mobile,” Dr Ang reveals.

Speaking of how important it is to have a competent and happy workforce, he says, “At Tan Chong, the human factor is our competitive edge. It was a home for us workers, managers and line staff. Leadership and top management is very important.

“Workers want to see a leader that they can follow. Some top staff have recently left to join Proton for their own reasons due to push and pull factors.”

As he sips his last bit of coffee, Dr Ang shares his believe that the national car maker still has much to catch up on in changing Malaysian perceptions of the brand.  This is largely due to past quality issues. “You can rebadge the Honda Accord as a Proton, and people still won’t buy.”


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