Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mercy Mission to the East Coast States: February 7 to 10, 2015

1. Introduction:  The trip to the East Coast states covering Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang was mooted arising of the heavy floods in December 2014 and January 2015 that resulted in serious damages to homes, infrastructure such as roads, public buildings such as schools and hospitals and caused hardships to many communities in these states.  Among those affected were members of the our Alumni (Persatuan Alumni MARDI - MASMARDI).  The objectives of the trip was to visit the affected areas, provide a little assistance to those affected by the flood and at the same to visit members who are sick and bedridden.  Above all,  to build up the espirit de corp among members in other states outside Selangor.

2. Visit of the Flooded Areas.  The delegation was made up of eight members comprising of the Executive Committee of MASMARDI headed by its President.  We started early (at 8 am) on Saturday February 7 in two vehicles, stopping briefly for breakfast at Genting Sempah R&R area and proceeding through Bentong, Raub, Kuala Lipis and subsequently stopped for lunch at the new R&R area in Gua Musang.  As we approached Manik Urai we could see the damages to the houses, shops and other structures, crops such as oil palm and fruit trees.  We stopped at a dukong orchard, badly damaged by the flood.  A few of the trees might survive as, we observed, there were still green leaves on them.  Nearby was a three-storey primary school building which was covered to the roof during the height of the flood and the concrete fence was toppled by the flood waters.  We drove through the Manik Urai town stopping by the bridge that span the Kelantan River.  Serious damages could be seen on houses and cars that were stored in the workshop by the river bank.  Temporary tents to house the affected flood victims were still seen around although it was already a month since the area was flooded.  We proceeded our journey passing through Kuala Krai, Machang and finally arriving at Holiday Villa Hotel, Kota Bharu at 7.00 pm.

Gua Musang R & R 

The dukong orchard affected by the flood

The dead fronds of young oil palm affected by the flood 

 One of the vehicle by the roadside submerged by flood waters
Photo with the Exco Committee of MASMARDI Kelantan 

Photo with friends of MARDI days 

 The wet market in Kota Bharu

Sekolah Kebangsaan Manek Urai

The bridge across the Kelantan River at Manek Urai

The damaged houses on the river bank of Kelantan River at Manek Urai

3. Programme at MASMARDI Kelantan.  Over light refreshment we interacted with members before the formal programme started at 11.30 am with a speech by Dato' Dr. Halim Hamat, Adviser to MASMARDI Kelantan. It was estimated that the number of attendees were 60. Dato' Halim highlighted the need to build up the spirit of espirit de corp (meningkat semangat silaturrahim) among members and expressed appreciation to the delegation for having made sacrifices of time and effort to organise the road show to the states.  My address as President of MASMARDI (see details of speech below) was next, followed by the presentation of envelopes containing RM 1000/- to the twenty-two flood victims identified in the State.  We hosted lunch and then departed for Kuala Terengganu, stopping at an architecturally unique mosque constructed from wood at Jerteh for our prayers.  We checked in at Sri Malaysia Hotel on the river front of Kuala Terengganu around 6.00 pm.

  The participants at the MASMARDI Kelantan

Presenting the cash contribution to members who were affected by the flood

 4.  Brief Notes on the Content of the Speeches Delivered at the Three MASMARDI Gatherings.
      Bismillahirrahmanirrahim..In the name of Allah the Compassionate and the Merciful.
      Objectives of the trip - to meet and enhance the espirit de corp among members, to create                     awareness among members on the various medical and other benefits provided to pensioners by         the Government and MARDI; to inform on activities of MASMARDI which are being undertaken       by the bureux of economy, welfare and community services, public relations and communication,       sports and recreation, religious affairs, intellectual activities; to present a small contribution to             those affected by the flood; to visit sick members; and to familiarise on the activities of MARDI.
      Remind members the need to keep healthy and active by practicing a balanced lifestyle of regular       exercises and proper dieting coupled with adequate rest and creating a happy living environment.       Keep mentally active with reading and writing.  Lastly, expressing my appreciation to the many         that have contributed financially to the fund, members that have taken the time to participate in           the get-together, and officials of MARDI who have assisted and facilitated in get-together                   activities.

5.  Programme at MASMARDI Terengganu.    Our activities on the third day of the trip was at MARDI Station Kuala Terengganu.  We arrived at the Station  at 11.00 am.  An estimated 30 mainly the staff of MARDI attended the gathering.  I was a little bit disappointed that members of MASMARDI was unable to attend, which I attribute to lack of communication.  After the speeches and light lunch we departed for Kemaman to visit Dr. Wahab Ismail who recently underwent a brain surgery for tumor.  He appeared conscious and blinked his right eye whenever he understood what a few of us were communicating with him particularly in wishing him rapid recovery from his illness.  Dr. Wahab is being looked after by his second wife and the two children and other members of the family.  He was also affected by the recent flood. After a special prayer and presentation of a cash donation we departed for Chendor, checking in at the Suria Resort Hotel at around 5.30 pm. Suria Resort is by the beach of the South China Sea. I was particularly glad to note that the Resort has a 20 m pool and inspite of the light drizzle I was in the pool soon after doing my laps and with the tired body, went to bed early that night.

The unique Malay architecture mosque in Jerteh Terengganu 

Sunset by the river front of Kuala Terengganu from the window of the Sri Malaysia Hotel

The gathering in Kuala Terengganu MARDI Station

6.  Programme at MASMARDI Pahang.  I woke up early on This Tuesday morning, heading for the beach and watching the early morning rise, followed by a dip in the pool again.  I was glad to see a relatively bigger crowd at MARDI Station Cherating with the Chairman, Dato' Dr Mohammad Yaakob, and many of the executive committee of the Pahang region present.  An estimated 50  comprising of members of MASMARDI and staff of MARDI attended the gathering.  In his speech Dr Mohammad shared his experiences of retired life.  He is involved in the mosque committee of his kariah and served on the State Pensioners Association.  He is active helping his wife with household chores and tilling his home garden.  Presenting of cash contribution to two members who were affected by the flood and one who was on the sick list, but made a great effort in attending the gathering on a wheel chair.  The delegation then visited 80 year-old Encik Jalil bin Mamat who was bed-ridden after suffering a stroke more than 10 years ago.  He is being looked after by his wife, children and grandchildren who live close to him.  We departed for home around 3.00 pm arriving Bangi at 8.30 pm.

Photo with the Exco Committee of MASMARDI Pahang

Addressing the MASMARDI members in Pahang

Beautiful sunrise taken from the Suria Resort Beach, Chendor

7. Concluding Remarks.  Personally it was a fulfilling mission, meeting the objectives we set.  I was particularly glad to get the support of the Executive Committee who made the necessary arrangement for the gatherings with the various Stations and the generous contributions of the members especially our Associate, MAEPS under the leadership of YH Dato' Arif.  The trip also provided me the opportunity to see the recent development in the three states and meeting and making new friends.

Posted on Wednesday February 18, 2015
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