A gathering to celebrate Deepavali together organised by 25 NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and three public agencies saw good support from 700 people on November 18 at Ipoh Town Hall.
Dato’ Samsuddin Abu Hassan, Executive Councillor for Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development, Consumer Affairs, NGOs and Civil Society in his address said, “Nowadays, nobody can deny the importance of NGOs in the development of the country and society. An NGO is a third force that plays a valuable role by relaying information from the government objectively, as they’re not a political party,” he told a press conference following “Pesta Cahaya Deepavali 1 Malaysia”.
According to Samsudin, presently every issue has been politicised, including efforts to help the rakyat by both state and federal governments.
“However, NGOs have always played their role, as a third force, helping the government to clarify policies such as Budget 2018,” Samsudin added.
Samsudin deemed the unique gathering a success. They had collaborated effectively to accomplish a single mission – to celebrate Deepavali together. “This is commendable, as the celebration is a platform to foster unity among the various races and ethnic groups,” he said.
To empower the NGOs, Samsudin said the state government would devise a strategic approach spearheaded by Institut Darul Ridzuan.
Event organising chairman, Associate Professor Dr Richard Ng, who is also the president of Ipoh City Watch and Koperasi Hijau (KOHIJAU) hoped that the state government would allocate funds, in its upcoming Budget 2018, to some 6000 NGOs in Perak.
“There are about 2000 NGOs which are active in terms of activities, performances and impact on Perakeans.
“I want the state government to empower this third force by increasing the budget for us (NGOs). However, only about 2000 are active and the number of people involved does not necessarily have an impact,” he pointed out.
Among the participating NGOs that Saturday were Greentown Wellness, Ipoh City Watch, KOHIJAU, Perak Women for Women Society and Persatuan Prihatin Wanita Perak.