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The welfare of the local Orang Asli on Pulau Indah is another project undertaken by Westports. Medical camps are organised from time to time.

   

Lifting up the community at Pulau Indah, Selangor.

PROFITS, passion and compassion are the bottom line of any company, and as such at Westports, profits mean sustaining business, the ability to control and expand as well as satisfy shareholder expectation. But the shipping organisation is just as passionate about its people, especially, when it comes to employee satisfaction. And its compassion extends to the community surrounding the port as well.

Westports adoption of Pulau Indah is one example of how the organisation has striven to provide for its community; in fact, it can declare “zero poverty” at the island, one of Malaysia’s most remote fishing islands. In providing for the vulnerable community on the island, the management at Westports has been able to enhance income-earning opportunities for the people, in addition to complementing the Government’s efforts in the poverty alleviation programmes there.

Today, Westports not only provides job opportunities for the locals, but also monthly financial assistance to those who are living in poverty, which includes orphaned children. Approximately 40% of Westports’ employees are Pulau Indah residents and the success of Westports Poverty Eradication Programme is evident in the lower incidence of poverty on the island.

Being a responsible corporate entity, it recognises that the inequality of living standards that people experience today is something to be concerned about. Westports Malaysia chief executive officer, Ruben Emir Gnanalingam, feels that “poverty” experienced there is equivalent to a “tsunami”. Those living in poverty face difficulties every day and it is something that no one should face at this stage of Malaysia’s development.

“As a good corporate citizen, it is our duty to lend a helping hand to the needy,” he said.

The Port’s community projects began way back in 1995 with the building and renovation of houses, schools, sports and recreational facilities on the island. Over the years, the port has contributed over RM4mil for various community projects at Pulau Indah. Westports provides annual grants of RM100,000 to the penghulu (head) of Pulau Indah for their various social and welfare programmes, monthly financial assistance to families identified living below the poverty line, monthly assistance to orphans, subsidised medical clinic costs, various charity drives for the Orang Asli settlement together with free health screening, repairs to dilapidated houses, grants to schools, mosques and suraus for development and security surveillance across the island.

As part of its commitment to helping the community at Pulau Indah, Westports takes into account the livelihood of families on the island as well. Here, Westports Malaysia chief executive officer Ruben Emir Gnanalingam is seen giving out tokens to single mums in the community.

The care for educational development of the students at schools in Pulau Indah has taken on a greater sense of urgency and gathered pace in recent years. The purpose is to give these students greater exposure and to prepare them to face challenges.

Westports has carried out numerous programmes and projects, like motivational talks for children, special tuition for exam classes, summer camps to promote team spirit and strong moral values, tours to Paya Indah Wetlands, Petrosains, tennis camps and basketball games.

Ruben believes that education is a major factor that can change a person’s future. Westports has made various contributions to support improvements to the infrastructure of schools as well as facilities such as a field and computer labs. Many educational workshops, study visits and motivational talks have also been organised by the organisation.

There has also been a special emphasis placed on the awareness of proficiency in the English language. Together with the Pintar foundation, programmes are in place (beginning at primary level) to ensure that the students have better command of the English language. Westports even teamed up with a local newspaper and has sponsored newspapers at 20 schools in Peninsular Malaysia, including all the schools in Pulau Indah. The other schools that were part of the sponsorship were rural schools around Malaysia.

Kamsani Sahlan, a headmaster at SK Pulau Indah 2 which received sponsorship under the programme, said: “Various contributions by Westports have immensely helped us with the running of the school’s operations and this also has contributed to improving the education quality among the students.”

He also said: “Westports’ efforts in making donations to schools should be emulated by others in the country.”


All for one: Festivals such as Hari Raya are celebrated with orphans and the needy in the community. 

The welfare of the local Orang Asli community on Pulau Indah is another project undertaken by Westports. The Mahmeri community, which has been living on the island even before there was any development, is now being taken care of with the assistance of Westports. The leader of the Mahmeri community or Tok Batin, Intan Pendek, said: “With Westports’ helping hand, our livelihood has improved due to the various contributions and assistance given to us.”

He added: “For instance, Westports has frequently provided school uniforms and bags for the Asli people’s children. These items are given twice a year, every year. And this has really lifted some burden off our shoulders.”

The thriving success of Westports has allowed it to provide job opportunities to the people of Pulau Indah. Indeed, many of its employees come from the island. Continuing to do its part for the people of Pulau Indah is just one of the ways Westports is pursuing its vision of being a successful gateway to Malaysia’s trade inventory, as well as in terms of employee relations, customer satisfaction and corporate citizenship.

Ruben said: “As Westports is located in Pulau Indah, it is only natural that our immediate priority should be given to the humble folks of the island. We still have pockets of the poor and destitute in need of better shelter, education and health facilities. It is our company’s philosophy to provide a better life for these residents and to elevate them from poverty.”