Great things are done by a number of small things combined together. On Friday, July 3, the annual #Puasa4Msia (Fast for Malaysia) get-together was held simultaneously at Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Seremban, Kuching and Ipoh. Syeun Hotel was the venue of the breaking-of-fast dinner to signify the end of the day-long event in Ipoh.
Organised by Malaysians for Malaysia, an initiative without a political agenda in 2009, the response is gaining momentum each passing year. Malaysians of different faiths and creeds would fast in solidarity with Muslims on the designated date. The event encourages the public to share their fasting experience online via the hashtag #Puasa4Malaysia.
“The reason for fasting is in solidarity for the country. It’s a fun activity but, most importantly, we’re bringing people together from different ethnicities and beliefs to fast and to break-fast together,” said Azrul Mohd Khalib, the Convener for Malaysians for Malaysia to Ipoh Echo.
“At the end of the day it’s our country. If you want things to change we’ve to do it ourselves. The amazing thing here in Ipoh, it’s women who are behind this. You have Soroptimist International (SI Ipoh) and Perak Women for Women (PWW) here,” added the humble 38-year-old when asked the source of his motivation to keep going.
Six years on, Malaysians were seen enjoying each other’s company and the exceptional sense of belonging left an indelible impression on everyone’s mind.
Malaysians for Malaysia consists of like-minded people who decided to come together to make Malaysia a better country. Members include luminaries such as Marina Mahathir and Daphne Iking.
The campaign creates empathy on both sides – for non-Muslims to understand what it feels like to fast during Ramadan and for Muslims to appreciate non-Muslims who fast even if they don’t have to.
“PWW has been working hand-in-hand with Malaysians for Malaysia in organising inter-ethnicity and inter-faith programmes. This is the second year with the group. I feel proud to be an active participant. Hopefully, more would join us next year,” said Halida Mohd Ali, President of PWW.
“SI Ipoh is joining the do for the second time. Personally, it is my first time. I am truly happy to be with these people. The majority of Muslims and non-Muslims in the country are very united. But the media likes to sensationalise on the problematic minorities for obvious reasons. Your paper’s coverage will help to counter this negativity,” Miss Jean Chai, President of SI Ipoh, enthused.
All said and done, it is a blessed event that needs to be encouraged and nurtured for the betterment of the nation.