| Letter | Shah Alam, Malaysia | 16 July 2016 | Asia Samachar |
If the need is urgent, then Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya (GSPJ), Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) and other gurdwaras in Malaysia (especially Kuala Lumpur and Selangor) and Sikh non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with excess funds can be of assistance. Rather than placing the excess funds with banks and earn a meager annual interest income of 3% to 3.5%, they can assist by advancing the money and may charge current fixed deposits (FD) interest rate which the Shah Alam gurdwara management committee (GMC) can pay and then return the money when donations come in.
Most may reject the request for reasons that they need the money for their own projects eventhough the proposed projects are not expected to materialise for several years or that they may not have confidence of the loan being repaid or for differences among the various goths-clans-etc. But these may all be excuses thought it is a win-win situation which needs spirit of assisting and trust.
Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) should step in to assist by being the party to bring those with excess funds and GSGNSA together.
Tatt Khalsa received such an advance when it needed funds urgently some years ago but this was from the principal office bearers who mortgaged their own houses to provide the funds and an individual. My congratulations to the Tatt Khalsa management for helping own self before going to others for help.
In addition there are several multi-millionaire Sikhs businessmen and professionals in KL-Selangor-Malaysia who may be financially able to assist in this noble cause and hope that they will come forward with cost free or cheap loans but sadly most may be spiritually poor to use their millions for this purpose.
Finally, the GSGNSA GMC office bearers should look to their own members for the required funds before they go to outside as was done by Tatt Khalsa management committee members.
Sungai Siput is also asking for donations. MGC should coordinate the requests and verify their needs and if justifiable then MGC should assist in whatever way it can.
I have always emphasised in the past that one should venture into any project only after the availability of funds have been confirmed and not hoping that others will come to finance the higher costs of their ambitious projects. It may be noted that there are several other gurdwara managements in other places who are also embarking on large projects without confirming that the required funds have been provided for.
Finally, it has been observed that it is a rare case where GMCs have been transparent and made the Sanggat aware on how the collected funds were expended. Questions raised at AGMs by members are rarely answered with supporting information and if the question is raised by non-members the answer is that ‘you are not entitled’. But there is never a rejection of donations from non-members.
It is a common perception that trust funds such as those managed by religious organisations may be mismanaged by some committee members due to possible lack of expertise relevant to the construction projects implementation.
When questions are raised, the reply is that the management of funds had been done by ‘honorable’ and ‘honest’ people with ‘integrity’ but the accounts are rarely made public for the Sanggat to know. I had written an article on transparency and accountability of gurdwara and NGOs funds where examples were given and the article was published at Asia Samachar. There was not a single comment by any gurdwara or Sikh NGO on the contents of the articles.
Other articles relevant to management-audit-monitoring of construction projects are available on request to anyone interested.
No malice or reference to any person or Gurdwara or NGO is intended. If anyone feels offended then to him/her my apologies. I am ever willing to have a discussion with anyone interested at any time mutually convenient or can call by phone or contact by e-mail.
WAHE GURU JI KA KHALSA WAHE GURU JI KI FATEH
- Gursharan Singh
Gursharan Singh, C.M.I.I.A., a retired audit officer from the Malaysian civil service, is also a trainer. This article was written in November 2015. He can be reached via emails at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or via mobile at +6019.2927178
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