| James Kon |
THE Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah, yesterday called for the establishment of a volunteer centre or body to record and measure the amount of time spent by members of the community in volunteerism in the country, as well as to record the number of people involved in volunteerism.
The call was made during the opening ceremony of the Volunteer Festival currently held at the Indoor Stadium in conjunction with International Volunteer Day 2014.
The minister also highlighted the need for the community and the nation’s youth to change their perception and understanding on volunteer work, as he said volunteerism is giving out one’s time and energy without expecting anything in return.
Volunteerism, he said, “gives self-fulfilment and a feeling of respect, as well as help to build social networks. As the saying goes, ‘volunteers are not paid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless’.”
The community, the minister mentioned, “needs to be aware that without social services from volunteers, the country will not be able to achieve its high quality of life. Therefore, volunteerism is an important component and catalyst for the development of a nation”.
Besides engaging in volunteer work in the country, youth associations such as the Asean Young Professionals Volunteer Corps, SCOTS, UBD Volunteers and Yayasan have also carried out volunteering work overseas. The minister commended the youth associations for their involvement in such overseas activities.
However, he also said that the country will need more members of the community to be involved in volunteerism by giving more man-hours a year engaging in such activities.
He said, “The continuous involvement of the community in volunteer works in various fields can contribute to the increase of the country’s standard of living, as well as help resolve social issues and problems and provide assistance to those in need. It also helps each volunteer to become a better person with an objective in life.”
Meanwhile, Hj Abdul Malik bin Hj Mohammad, the Director of Youth and Sports, in his speech highlighted that the Volunteer Festival is held for the first time and is one of the efforts of the Department of Youth and Sports to support and pay tribute to volunteers.
He added that during the festival, a number of activities have been organised, which includes a Volunteer Recruitment Drive by various agencies as well as Volunteer Showcase and Youth Entrepreneurship Expo.
Also present at the event were Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman, Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports; Dato Paduka Awang Hj Mohd Hamid bin Hj Mohd Jaafar, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports as well as representatives from various NGOs.