Continued efforts to aid the affected goes a long way
By Joseph Wong email@example.com
While the nation and the world have been combating the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, praise should be given to the dedication of the frontliners and those who provide support from donations to volunteering to aid the affected. The recent high numbers of positive cases have yet to reduce to a more acceptable level, but that has not stopped Malaysians from continuing to do their part to help those affected by the effects of the pandemic.
In the property sector, many developers have been playing their part in combating the contagion and providing assistance to members of the public. Many have been quietly supporting and providing relief efforts to the frontliners, amounting to millions to ringgit, as part of their community social responsibility (CSR) endeavours. Among them are Tropicana Corporation Bhd, Paramount Corporation Bhd, IJM Land Bhd, Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd (Matrix Concepts), OSK Property Holdings Bhd (OSK Property) are Mitraland Group (Mitraland).
Numerous others like Sunway Group, Mah Sing Group Bhd, JL99 Group, SP Setia Bhd, Sime Darby Property Bhd, UEM Sunrise Bhd and LBS Bina Group have also pitched in to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Paramount Corporation deputy group chief executive officer Benjamin Teo said for the company, the past year has been first and foremost about prioritising the health and wellness of its employees.
“This includes setting aside the funds to ensure our employees are fully vaccinated and given time off to get their shots as well as to recover post-vaccination. Our construction workers are also taken care of and have been supplied with food, care packages as well as cash allowances over the various lockdowns.
“Our support has also extended to poor and needy communities. This includes providing food packages to over 400 families in both the central and northern regions. In addition, donations of medical supplies, wheelchairs as well as oxygenators have also been made to support our medical frontliners. Our coworking division, Co-labs Coworking, has also been collaborating with non-profit organisations to fundraise for various causes including feeding the homeless as well as supporting equal learning opportunities for children during this pandemic,” he said.
Paramount has also contributed RM500,000 to the Edge Covid-19 Healthcare Workers Support Fund, which assisted health care workers affected by the pandemic. “My late father Datuk Teo Chiang Quan and I also supported this cause with additional personal funds. All these are cumulative efforts made by the different teams across the Group with everyone guided by our company vision of changing lives and enriching communities for a better world,” said Teo.
In money and in kind
To date, Matrix Concepts has contributed over RM11.5mil to various organisations and communities over the past one and half years, including RM400,000 specifically for the Matrix Concepts Food Bank programme this year, said Matrix Concepts chief marketing officer Lim Kok Yee. Of the total, RM2.6mil was channelled to national and state Covid-19 funds, frontliners, media personnel and affected communities such as the Orang Asli and foreign workers.
The developer also donated BRC steel valued at RM60,000 to build the Tampin Quarantine and Treatment Centre and sponsored its d’Tempat Country Club as a vaccination centre. The remaining sum was channelled to various community aids, education assistance, upgrading of sports facilities as well as environmental and social campaigns, he said. IJM Land has donated about RM400,000 to its CSR initiatives from January to October this year.
IJM Land has been closely monitoring the development concerning the pandemic and stepping forward to ensure that the broader communities in Seremban are supported through its community initiatives. “Our CSR initiatives are aimed at giving a short-term boost to underserved and underprivileged target groups,” said IJM Land senior general manager Datuk Hoo Kim See.
Its many initiatives include the Chinese New Year Charity Programme in January, New Year, New Hope’ CSR Programme in February, Home Rehabilitation Programme (myHome) in March and Program Mesra Ramadan in May 2021. In fact, campaigns are held every month mostly to provide financial relief and support to families in need. OSK Property donated RM540,000 in medical equipment and food supplies thus far this year.
“We have supported the frontliners with purchase of additional medical equipment and helping B40 families in PPR homes with food supplies,” said OSK Property chief executive officer Ong Ghee Bin. On helping their own internal staff, the developer said the entire team had started preparing to transition weeks ahead of the last full movement control order (MCO). “We are glad that we have been able to work efficiently with all the tools required for employees to work from home without much challenge,” he added.
Taking further steps
Mitraland took a step further by setting up their own Mitraland Care (community, aid, response and effort) programme to handle the support given to combat the pandemic. While the donated amount comes up to RM132,500 thus far this year, the developer has been active over the years in many CSR activities amounting to RM4mil, according to Mitraland general manager Low Kwok Leong.
“We managed to distribute 200 Care food and essential packs to families in need. Besides that, we donated RM66,000 in cash to various organisation like Majlis Perbandaran Klang Food Bank, Cantonese Association of Klang, Hokkien Association of Klang, Pertubuhan Al-Khaadem, Yayasan Pendidikan Pelajar Melayu and PPR8 Kota Damansara Emergency Meals, to name a few,” he said.
And to help its employees adapt to the new work norm, Mitraland mobilised its information technology (IT) equipment to its staff members, particularly to those without laptops. Mitraland also held consistent health checks on its staff while keeping tabs on their work-life balance while working from home.
Reactivating their foundation
Tropicana has always contributed towards many charitable causes every year, but in 2020, the Tropicana Foundation was reactivated to consolidate all CSR initiatives under one entity, said Tropicana Corporation managing director Dion Tan. Last year, the foundation contributed RM5.3mil to 37 underprivileged homes and associations across Malaysia. This year, Tropicana has contributed over RM2.2mil.
Not everything was monetary as much was also donated in kind. For example, 200,000 face masks were presented to Selangor Chief Minister Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari. The donations were handed to the state disaster relief room for distribution to the frontliners. During MCO 2.0, Tropicana Foundation prepared and delivered over 6,500 fresh, hot meals by the truckload to 28 needy homes comprising orphanages, old folks and special need individuals.
Others include the acquisition of hospital beds worth RM30,000, over 2,000kg worth of fresh produce to 10 different underprivileged homes and NGOs and 7,100 protective gear to the Pahang state government. In addition, RM1.5mil worth of medical equipment and hazmat suits were donated to the Health Ministry to support Covid-19 relief efforts. These were distributed to hospitals and health departments.
This care was also given to its own staff as they are, after all, the pillars of the company. Tropicana Foundation provided more than 1,300 care packs containing masks, hand sanitisers, and personal cutlery sets in the recent pandemic to our employees nationwide, said Tan. When workers living at its TGCR hostels were quarantined indoors during the enhanced MCO, Tropicana Foundation prepared over 180 care packages with food and essential supplies such as drinks, instant food, gloves, hand sanitisers and masks to ensure their safety and comfort during the lockdown.
To ensure Tropicana is a conducive and safe place, Tropicana also extended Covid-19 vaccinations across its Tropicana ecosystem to achieve its target of a 100% vaccinated workforce. “With this vaccination in place, we are certain that our Tropicana community will once again be revitalised and safe for all,” he said. LBS Foundation has also been active in making donations to a number of nongovernment organisations (NGOs) and individuals affected by the pandemic and the constraints caused by the implementation of the multiple MCOs.
Among the recipients of donations include Persatuan Kebajikan Chen Ai, which comprises the disabled and elderly who suffer from mental disorders, spinal cord injuries, learning disabilities, Autism and other conditions. Aside from that, in June this year, LBS Foundation also contributed several hospital beds and monetary donations to the Emergency Unit at Banting Hospital, Selangor.
Simultaneously, LBS Foundation also made donations to Tzu Chi Malaysia Taiwan Buddhist Foundation to help the Malaysia Solidarity Covid-19 Fund in covering for the medical needs in several hospitals and subsequently channelled to B40 families.
“The effects of the Covid-19 outbreak have negatively impacted the lives of some communities and have completely overturned their lives. We hope that this contribution will lessen the burden of those affected as well as serve as a form of encouragement for the communities that are capable of contributing to assist the needy during these challenging times,” said LBS Foundation Board of Trustees Tan Sri Lim Hock San. These continued acts of kindness of such developers are helping to restore humanity’s hopes in times of despair. And by adding more moral elevation to our lives, we may even be moved to become the next heroes in a morality tale yet to be written.