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Westports' 'Zero Poverty Programme in Pulau Indah' aims to better the life of residents living around the port.

SINCE the founding of Westports Malaysia 11 years ago, the port has worked to be a good corporate citizen in its communities. Its efforts from the beginning were to give back to the communities that it served. That's part of the business model conceived by Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam, Westports executive chairman.

Gnanalingam said, however, much more needed to be done to eradicate poverty in the country.

"Charity begins at home," he said, "but sadly, while we Malaysians are donating millions of dollars to eradicate poverty in neighbouring countries, we have abandoned our own population."

He said as a nation, Malaysia has donated millions to the Asian tsunami relief effort and the Hurricane Katrina disaster in the US , but at home there were still many poor people.

On its part, Westports recently embarked on plan to eradicate poverty among the Pulau Indah rural folks with its "Zero Poverty Programme in Pulau Indah", its first community project for 2006.

"Poverty is something that nobody should face at this stage of national development and thus, we have identified a number of people on the island who live in poverty. Hence, to lend a helping hand to the needy, we are making cash contributions that will be given to them," he said.

In a ceremony, Datuk Zakaria Mat Derus, the Klang state assemblyman, kicked off the "Zero Poverty Programme in Pulau Indah" on March 10, where Westports made RM70,000 in cash contributions.

A sum of RM50 each was given to 20 orphans and RM200 each to 18 families, who were identified as living below the poverty line. The orphans and the families will receive the contribution on a monthly basis.

In addition, the port has allocated RM1 1,000 to renovate one dilapidated house that is being inhabited by 60 year old heart patient, Abdul Jalal, who is unable to make ends meet for his family.

At the ceremony, Gnanalingarn and Zakaria took turns to hit the last nail on the house to signify the completion of the renovation.

Gnanalingam said: "As Westports is located in Pulau Indah, it is only natural that priority should be given to these humble folks. It is our company philosophy to provide a better lifestyle for these residents and to alleviate poverty. The Pulau Indah poverty eradication programme aims to assist those who are battling to keep their families together and to ensure zero poverty among the island folks."

Westports has over the years contributed RM1 million for projects that has brought changes to the lives of the Pulau Indah residents.

Pulau Indah Community Head Mohd HaW Selamat said the management of Westports wanted to see the residents prosper, and this had created a strong bond between the port and the community.

The change that has emerged on this once remote island is a due to the existence of the port. In December, the company made a contribution of school clothing and supply of stationery for the school going children in the orphanage at Pulau Indah.

Now in its 1 1th year, Westports' Pulau Indah Community project has given Pulau Indah a major facelift and the people a new hope. Through programmes organised by Westports for the community, it has served as a catalyst for obtaining better social conditions, medical benefits and education facilities for the local residents.


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