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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Brand helps STMB stay focused on CR goals


So immersed is Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd (STMB) in helping to improve the lives of the underprivileged that it has a brand dedicated to this corporate responsibility (CR) programme, called TakafulmyJalinan.

Group managing director Datuk Hassan Kamil says having a brand allows the company to be more focused in achieving its CR-related goals.

“Most companies carry out their CR activities on an ad hoc basis or as separate activities unrelated to one another but we feel that by having a brand, each activity is better implemented and proves more sustainable,” he tells StarBizWeek.

“It also helps us better communicate CR to the public,” Hassan adds.

Formally launched in January, TakafulmyJalinan acts as an umbrella brand to represent categories of CR activities undertaken by STMB. Two sub-brands – myJalinan~Ilmu and myJalinan~Kasih – address issues related to children’s education and poverty respectively.

Under myJalinan~Ilmu, STMB intends to “adopt” primary schools in rural areas of the country to improve their quality of education.

STMB is no stranger to helping needy schools. Under the Government-initiated Pintar Programme, it adopted Sekolah Kebangsaan Permatang Binjai in March 2007.

The school is located in a rural area in Penang where most of the students come from low-income families.

“We want to improve the quality of education at the school. Apart from financial assistance, we have donated books and computers,” Hassan says, adding that STMB aims to lend a helping hand to more rural schools.

On how STMB selects the schools, Hassan says: “We have people all over Malaysia. They will submit the names to us and we will make the final assessment on whether they are truly deserving.”

The myJalinan~Kasih sub-brand sees STMB providing assistance to groups of individuals such as orphans. Hassan says STMB intends to help at least one orphanage a month.

“We have given monetary assistance to five orphanages since the launch of our CR brand. We personally visit the orphanages to ensure that they deserve assistance,” he says, adding that STMB has also donated furniture and clothing to the orphanages.

In addition, single mothers and the destitute are also targeted under myJalinan~Kasih, according to Hassan.

“Before we choose the mothers, we look into the person’s background such as her monthly income. We go through bodies like Social Welfare Department to get their names. We then filter and screen them to know which ones are deserving.

“We also help other individuals who are in dire straits. These may include the children of the single mothers.”

Going forward, Hassan says STMB is in the midst of launching a new sub-brand called myJalinan~Alam that will focus on activities related to the environment. “This will include educating children on the importance of preserving the environment,” he says.

Hassan says that RM500,000 has been disbursed to deserving recipients since the launch of TakafulmyJalinan.

“We have set aside another RM500,000 for the next few months. Despite the current economic situation, we have no intention of cutting back on our CR efforts.

“We also strongly believe that care and assistance should not be placed solely in the hands of the Government. Every individual and organisation should play a role in helping those in need,” he says.

Hassan adds that as a company carrying out a business governed by syariah principles and Islamic fundamentals, it is an obligation for STMB to assist the underprivileged.

“This is part of our social obligation as a takaful company. In Islam, as an individual you must pay zakat if you have an asset or income. The same applies to corporate entities.”


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