Masjid India during Ramadan (25th May 2019)

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Ramadan is traditionally a time to think of others less fortunate than oneself, so you will find that Malaysian companies often have special Social Responsibility activities during this time of year. This year, Sunway Group partnered with the National Committee for Community Services, Malaysian Red Crescent, to help install an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) for the distribution of rice in the entrance to the Masjid India in Johor Bahru. Sunway have installed these devices in other states in Malaysia, but this is their first in Johor. This Rice ATM can hold 200 kg of rice and Malaysians who qualify for help receive a special card and can collect 2 kg of rice per week. The machine also has a donation compartment for the purchase of more rice. Currently 100 recipients will receive this free supply of rice and it is hoped that donations will keep the supply of rice going throughout the whole year.

In addition, volunteers from Sunway and the Malaysian Red Crescent organised the production and distribution of 1,000 containers of burbur lambuk  (flavoured rice porridge) which is traditionally distributed to the poor and needy at mosques for the breaking of the fast during Ramadan.

Dato Mohd Redza Shah Abdul Wahid is both the CEO of Bank Muamalat and also Head of the Masjid India, indeed it was his grandfather who first established this mosque for the Indian Muslim community here in Johor Bahru. He was here today to give Zakat funds from Bank Muamalat to the needy of Johor Bahru via the hands of Y.A.M. Tunku Idris Iskandar Alhaj ibni Sultan Ibrahim, Tunku Temenggong Johor, who is Chairman of the National Committee for Community Services, Malaysian Red Crescent.

So, let me show you some photos as the afternoons events unfolded. The main event was the arrivial of the Prince (Y.A.M. Tunku Idris Iskandar Alhaj ibni Sultan Ibrahim, Tunku Temenggong Johor) and people had turned up well in advance, even more than originally planned for.

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There was much organising to be done by the red-shirted Sunway people and the red-and-white-shirted Malaysian Red Crescent. If you are unfamiliar with traditional Malaysian male attire, do take special note of the outfits worn here. The baju melayu is the loose tunic warn over trousers and covered by a sarong wrapped around the hips. Each state in Malaysia will have subtle differences in attire. So, Johorean males will wear a tunic with a simple round neckline, and no collar. And their sarong may tell of family heritage as well as location. You can see some esquisite examples of textiles like these at the Johor Weaving Gallery here in Johor Bahru.

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Volunteers from Sunway registered the media, of which there were many, while others made sure they knew how to use the Rice ATM. In the meantime, volunteers were busy preparing the burbur lambuk  outside the mosque.

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Here are five of the people responsible for todays events: from left to right, Dato’ Haji Mohd Rashidi bin Haji Mohd Noor, Deputy Chairman of the National Committee for Community Services, Malaysian Red Crescent; Dato’ Mohd Redza Shah Abdul Wahid, CEO of Bank Muamalat; Mr Gerard Soosay, CEO of Sunway Iskandar; Lekha Nandey, committe member of the National Committee for Community Services, Malaysian Red Crescent; and the gentleman in blue whos name I did not get.

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Right on time at 3:30 pm, the Prince arrived and was greeted by Dato’ Haji Mohd Rashidi bin Haji Mohd Noor and other officials. The Prince was immediately put to work by adding some ingrediants to the pot of burbur lambuk , giving it a regal stir, and then pouring some into the pots for distribution.

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He then moved into the entrance of the mosque where he emptied a bag of rice into the Rice ATM and then was joined in the anteroom by the officials. Here he and Dato’ Mohd Redza Shah Abdul Wahid said a few words to start the proceedings.

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The Prince received the Zakat from Dato’ Mohd Redza Shah Abdul Wahid and a gift from Mr Gerard Soosay.

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Following tradition, prayers were said while the needy waited patiently for their turn in this afternoon’s ceremony. 

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I was impressed by the patience of the Prince (Y.A.M. Tunku Idris Iskandar Alhaj ibni Sultan Ibrahim, Tunku Temenggong Johor) as he insisted on personally giving out the gifts to all the recipients. In particular, he was so thoughtful to give respect to this elderly lady.

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Finally the formal photo taking before the Prince left. My photo only shows the group of people to the right of the Prince as this includes the Malaysian Red Crescent volunteers who I was here to support.

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Back outside, Sunway volunteers continued to fill pots with burbur lambuk  and people started making their way home. Another successful event for the Malaysian Red Crescent.

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© Helen Gray 2020