Funds in Malaysia getting harder to come by in tough economic times

PETALING JAYA - Non-governmental organisations that depend on donations are feeling the pinch from the tougher economic conditions.

With businesses cutting costs to cope with falling profits, the funds needed to carry out their many projects are getting harder to come by.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, HinduĀ­ism, Sikhism and Taoism deputy president Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan said places of worship and religious-based organisations looked after the needy but were now suffering too.

"During the recent Deepavali festival, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam members had to dig deep into their own pockets to buy groceries for needy families.

"Even big corporations turned us down when we appealed for donations," said Mohan, who is also the Malaysia Hindu Sangam president.

Rumah KIDS which houses abused, orphaned and neglected children in the Klang Valley, faces the same fate.

"We are only getting one-off contributions. No long-term pledges. And with Christmas around the corner, I'm a little nervous," its communications manager David Janssen said.

Donations in cash and kind for Kenosis Home dropped by 50 per cent in the last five months, its co-founder Pastor Richard Lee said.

"Individuals who used to give RM1,000 (S$328) or 10 bags of rice are only giving half of that now.

"Circumstances have caused many to be very cautious with their spending. It's not just Kenosis. Many other centres are suffering too," he said.

In Bukit Mertajam, St Anne's Church parish priest Rev Father Henry Rajoo said people were struggling so "we can't expect too much except to pray for God to supply what's needed".

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation media relations officer Chong Chuan Yit encouraged more donors to come forward.

"It's not about the amount but to inspire love. There are many more who are in greater need," he said.

Describing Malaysia as a caring nation, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said most contribute to charitable causes.

"As members of a society, we need to collaborate and leverage on each other's strengths but before we can help others, we must first have a strong footing ourselves."