KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Every organisation needs to have a check and balance especially when it comes to finances.
And for about two decades at the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF), this job fell on Datuk Maznah Jalil who was honorary treasurer.
“I’ve always been a treasurer and my role at MAF was to monitor the donations collected from the public and to organise all the events and advocacy work with MAC,” she said.
For her contributions, Maznah was among those awarded the foundation’s patron’s long service award at the Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Award Gala Dinner last night.
The foundation’s sister organisation, the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC), has about 40 affiliates and Maznah said it was not an easy task in terms of finances as funds were limited.
“To create an event to spread awareness is doable, but what these guys bring to me at the start is of utmost importance,” she said, referring to the project at its proposal stage.
“They need to allocate what their fund requirements are and to justify to us why they need this amount of funds.
“Giving it is not an easy task to because at the end of the day, we are held accountable for the funds given to us by our generous donors,” she related.
Of her involvement in MAF, she said she did not think twice when she joined in 1997, because the previous honorary treasurer Datuk Rosie Tan had laid out a detailed accounting and financing structure at her disposal.
“Datuk is a hard-nosed accountant who laid out a perfect structure for me when I joined in 1997,” she recalled, referring to Tan.
“It was a mammoth task on my end as I had a full time-job elsewhere and I wasn’t too sure how much of time I could dedicate to this cause.”
“I was honest to Datuk Rosie and Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir because I had very little spare time, but they still persuaded me to join this cause.”
When asked to describe her role in layman’s term, she jokingly said it was as “professional beggar”.
“I’d call us a ‘professional beggar’ who needs to constantly think of various methods to raise funds.
“We cannot have the same business module repeatedly, so we have to keep our minds fresh to new ideas.”
She added that there had been great advancement in the past 20 years particularly with initiatives like the Malaysian Business Consortium on HIV which allows MAF to engage with various stakeholders.
For Maznah, rule number one in her book is if you get involved, do it wholeheartedly. Keeping this in mind, she committed herself to the post for 20 years, with a two-year renewal intact.
“I’ve enjoyed doing it, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here speaking to you today. But it’s time to give others a chance,” the 63-year-old said.
Although she was not present for the award ceremony, she said the recognition “touched her heart”.
“I’ve done this all this while without asking for anything in return. I believe that when we do something, we must not tell the whole world about it.”
“Although I’m not really at the front end of the scene I still contribute in various ways. If I can educate myself on the HIV/AIDS situation in Malaysia over the past 20 years, every Malaysian out there can help them through various methods too,” she said.
Malay Mail was the media partner for the event.