The Covid-19 pandemic spares no one and nothing.
No one is immune to the virus – regardless of our financial background and medical history, we are all equally at risk from being infected with the virus. Even those who have recovered from it can be reinfected too.
Economically, we have seen both small businesses and multinational corporations (MNCs) succumb to the pressure caused by the pandemic. While many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are forced to close, MNCs have also suffered significant losses in the past few months.
Tighter pockets and lower budgets have also caused certain non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to experience financial troubles as well. This could potentially mean that Malaysians who used to seek support from NGOs may no longer be able to do so, should the global situation worsen.
It goes without saying that the needy deserves the bulk of the financial aid available
The needy, especially those who live in poverty, face more challenges during these trying times.
They were already struggling with basic necessities like food and shelter prior to the pandemic. The going gets tougher for this group with the current unemployment rate and grim economic outlook, as companies are unlikely to be able to hire more workers.
As such, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) channeled most of their RM4.36 million zakat assistance to the poor, Malaysians living with disabilities, single parents, and those in the B40 category. Their initiative was aimed at not only helping the rural poor, but the urban poor as well. The zakat assistance was distributed in the form of cash allowance as well as basic daily necessities like food.
However, organisations like schools and welfare homes need financial assistance as well
As mentioned earlier, NGOs are also under financial pressure to keep their organisations running for the benefit of their members and communities they were set up to help. Similarly, schools and teachers in rural areas lack the facilities and tools to organise online learning for their students.
During an unprecedented global crisis such as the one we are going through right now, aid should not be limited to one category of people. If available, we should also contribute to institutions and organisations that are established to help different communities.
Schools are just as important as welfare homes: while the latter protects and cares for the vulnerable groups of people in our country, the former empowers and educates the younger generation. All of whom deserve as much aid as we can give.
Understanding this, TNB did not limit their zakat assistance to the poor and B40, but also used it to help schools, orphanages, and old folks’ homes. Some needed cash aid to pay for the rental of the grounds; whereas others could use it to buy simple luxuries like Raya clothing to celebrate Eid.
Help whoever we can, whenever we can
As our country is currently in the recovery stage of the Movement Control Order (MCO), we can also help our fellow Malaysians recover from hardships they are going through.
Take care of others when you can, and whenever you can – because the only way we can come back stronger is by helping each other.
This piece was made possible by Tenaga Nasional Berhad.
I have an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, gummy candy, and "Confucius says" jokes.