Strength in Adversity
In line with Khazanah Nasional’s second mandate of value distribution to its public stakeholders, there are many components that make up the work that Yayasan Hasanah carries out.
One fundamental enabler for Yayasan Hasanah is collaboration.
Since its inception in 2015, Hasanah has distributed approximately RM1.3 billion in funds, and touched the lives of over 1 million people. However, we could not have accomplished this without the presence of positive collaboration. Collectively, we were able to reach a diverse group of people in need through various interventions throughout last year.
I have no doubt in my mind that the good objective of Yayasan Hasanah’s establishment is the main motivator for our team’s performance and contribution.
Our partners include a multitude of civil society organisations, corporate Malaysia as well as government bodies, departments and ministries. The first step to effectively render support is to understand the specific needs of each vulnerable community. And secondly, responding collectively and not in silos.
A needs-based approach to provide aid, relief and support also goes a long way to avoid wastage of precious resources and duplication of efforts.
In this ecosystem of collaboration, Hasanah’s role is to convene, facilitate and advocate for the necessary changes across five main focus areas; namely Education, Community Development, Environment, Arts and Public Spaces, and Knowledge. As a catalyst of change, I am proud of Yayasan Hasanah’s achievements as the value distribution arm of Khazanah Nasional, in order to advance Malaysia to its fullest potential.
I welcome you to peruse The Hasanah Report 2021 as we pay homage to the people we have supported; those who despite the challenges that stood in their way, have exhibited immeasurable Strength in Adversity.
When COVID-19 was first declared a worldwide pandemic, what began as a health crisis, quickly spiraled into a serious socio-economic crisis as well.
Last year, Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) in their Household Income Estimates (HIES) and Incidence of Poverty Report said roughly half a million middle income group or M40 households had slipped into the Bottom 40% (B40) category following the pandemic.
And while we battled rising unemployment rates and loss of income on top of the lives lost to the pandemic, climate crisis and massive floods brought more devastation into the lives of many.
Remarkably — and in spite of all the hardship faced — my team and I witnessed, time and time again, a display of strength and fortitude in heroic proportions in the communities and people we served.
And this is why Strength in Adversity is the theme for The Hasanah Report 2021.
It reminds me of a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who aptly said., “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
To me, this phrase so aptly describes the remarkable strength of each and every one who withstood the challenges brought by the pandemic, natural disasters and economic challenges. Even at Yayasan Hasanah, we saw a record-breaking year in the total number of projects awarded, people assisted as well as funds disbursed. Strength in Adversity was not only seen on the ground with our communities, but also within our staff, the corporate sector who outpoured record CSR funding as well as the public service sector.
Evident last year was also the adage “The power of WE”.
Collaboration and Partnerships characterised our giving last year, where collective responses from government, GLCs and private sector enabled a more coordinated response and impacts on the ground.
Together, we can do more by leveraging on each other’s domains of strengths, capabilities, and resources for a more concerted effort. Strategic partnerships amongst public and private sectors, and civil society organisations (CSOs), coupled with a need-based approach ensure that support and assistance reached those who truly needed it in an efficient and timely manner.
A significant collaboration model last year was the efforts of Government-Linked Companies and Government-Linked Investment Companies Demi Rakyat dan Negara (GDRN) initiatives which was transformational in coordinating acute responses during the pandemic as well as the catastrophic floods in Dec 2021. A total of RM207.2 million in funding from 39 companies were coordinated and benefitted those affected by the pandemic and floods.
Similarly, the pilot initiative CERDIK saw 32 GLCs and corporate organisations coming together to contribute more than 150,000 laptops and devices as well as data connectivity to enable students from low income households to participate in online learning.
Last but not least, I must thank the Ministry of Finance for entrusting Yayasan Hasanah to deliver a wide range of social impact programmes and immediate aid through its various stimulus packages and Budget 2022 allocations which enabled us to reach a record-breaking number of 1.48 million people in 2021 alone. These partnerships are anchored on robust governance structures, trust, and adaptability in execution during emergencies. These are key ingredients to successful partnerships, enabling speed in execution to reach those most in need in a timely and coordinated manner.
To all our partners, I must say: what a phenomenal display of the power of “we”!
To us, joining forces has meant being able to contribute to advancing Malaysia, one person at a time, across all layers of society.
The number of people Hasanah reached in 2021 alone represents 66% of the total amount since 2015. Meanwhile, the amount of funds managed, partners involved, and projects overseen made up almost half of the cumulative figures measured since inception.
That being said, these record numbers and overwhelming need for assistance also serve as a grim reminder, revealing gaps in our social protection system. The pandemic has exposed the sad reality of many individuals who have somehow fallen through the cracks.
Learning from the pandemic-driven struggles over the past two years, the call for a holistic view of social protection issues cannot possibly be overstated.
Moving with the times, we too have upgraded our growth partnership models as well as impact assessment systems to better understand and serve the needs of communities.
Now, it is said that, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”; and I cannot think of a more motivated group of people to go the distance with.
I am grateful to the Board of Trustees of Yayasan Hasanah for their invaluable guidance and to the extraordinary Hasanah Squad for navigating this challenging year together.
Finally, to all Yayasan Hasanah partners, I hope that The Hasanah Report 2021 featured here, will benefit all its readers and offer some insights on our journey, in the year that was 2021.
Assalamualaikum W.B.T. and thank you.
In addition to responding to pandemic-related problems and the devastation caused by floods through our Humanitarian Disaster Relief initiatives, this year also saw an expansion of our work scope into aspects such as mental health and animal welfare.
The PINTAR-UTAR Mental Health Programme for Teachers and Counsellors in Sarawak promoted awareness about adolescents’ mental health issues and trained teachers to identify psychological challenges.
Funding was also useful for Hasanah Special Grant recipient Noah’s Ark Ipoh, to provide food, care and refuge for stray cats and dogs as they were inundated with calls to rescue abandoned animals throughout the pandemic.
Since crisis does not discriminate, the people we assisted hail from various communities that make up our beautiful nation.
In Sabah, we worked alongside Persatuan Pendidikan Bajau Laut or Iskul Sama DiLaut Omadal, an organisation that provides literacy lessons to undocumented children in Semporna’s Omadal Island since 2015.
Meanwhile in Sarawak, our partner Whatmatters Sdn. Bhd. combats malnutrition amongst the urban B40 community by freeze-drying and canning highly nutritious food purchased from rural farmers.
Combining environmental and livelihood concerns, the Sustainable Bamboo Harvesting Program for Rural Empowerment supports 50 Orang Asal from Pos Poi, Perak. Additionally, Biji-Biji’s Beyond Bins plastic upcycling programme in Kampung Tengah, Puchong provides an income source for the community while ensuring plastic waste is handled properly.
At the same time, artistes like er hu player Tommy Chin Hong Wei, who lost his job during the pandemic, relished the opportunity when he was chosen to perform at vaccination centres, while Turtle Conservation Society Malaysia empowered womenfolk in the community by training them in sewing, marketing, photography and financial literacy.
Despite hailing from all walks of life, there is a common trait shared by all our partners and aid recipients — an unrelenting spirit in spite of hardship.