While annual staff dinners are normally a time for reflection on the company’s accomplishments and for the staff to interact socially, Malaysiakini decided to make it even more meaningful.
“Malaysiakini likes to see itself as a team of people who sow seeds that go on to bear fruits in our community. It is not important for us to see these fruits right away, but if in our lifetime, we are able to see some changes for the better, that would be a bonus,” said editor-in-chief Steven Gan at the company’s annual staff dinner on Dec 17 last year.
“While we see much suffering in our world, each and every one of us should do our bit so that we may witness their liberation one day.”
As such, Malaysiakini‘s annual staff party is an occasion to raise funds for a number of worthy causes.
According to Gan, Malaysiakini has a strict policy of not accepting gifts of all kinds from individuals and companies.
Journalists are required to declare gifts above RM10 to the office. These gifts are then auctioned off among Malaysiakini staff.
“The money raised is given to a charity of our choice,” explained Gan.
“We started the auction in 2009. That year, the money raised went to pay the school fees of a secondary school student from Sithamani Orphanage in Jinjang, and also to Paws Malaysia to buy milk powder to feed motherless pups and kittens.
“For the money raised in 2010, we decided to divide the proceeds between the Sarawak Middle Baram Penan Pre-school Project (photo above) and to a deserving animal shelter to cover its food and medical expenses.”
Penan school funded by well-wishers
In January this year, a total of RM575 was presented to the Penan school, which is entirely funded by contributions from well-wishers. (For more background on the school, click here).
Today, another RM600 went to purchasing pet food for Hope JB, an animal shelter in Johor Baru which is home to 600 dogs and 45 cats.
“The shelter was started six years ago by a lady who is fondly known as Auntie Chia Chia… Today, it receives about 30 abandoned dogs a month and gives up fewer than 10 for adoption as it has very stringent adoption policies,” said its advisor Bernard Yong after receiving the donation of pet food from Malaysiakini’s representative Nick Josh Karean.
“Unlike other shelters, Hope does not believe in euthanising, and will take back the dogs given up for adoption when it is found that they are not treated well.”
With expenses running up to RM30,000 a month, Malaysiakini’s donation is just a drop in the bucket, but Yong believes that every little bit counts.
“It just going beyond (Auntie Chia Chia’s) means. They are now being asked to vacate their premises, and she is even thinking of selling her house to buy a plot of land for the animals,” he said, highlighting the shelter’s plight.