GEORGE TOWN, June 26 — International non-profit organisation, the Buddhist Tzu-Chi Merits Society, will be building a RM200 million Community Education Centre in Batu Kawan after buying 30 acres of land from the Penang Development Corporation (PDC).
The volunteer-based humanitarian organisation, represented by Tzu Chi Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Koay Chiew Poh, signed a purchase and development agreement with PDC at the Penang Chief Minister’s office in Komtar today.
Koay said the project will cost between RM150 million and RM200 million to develop its dialysis centre, training and education centre, charity and recycle centre, relief centre, conference halls, hostels, a library and offices.
He said the project will feature a ‘green’ environment, with environmental protection one of the missions of the organisation.
“We hope to start work as soon as possible once we get the necessary planning permissions and the whole project is expected to complete in 15 years,” he said.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who announced the deal, said the 30-acre land at Bandar Cassia in Batu Kawan was sold to Tzu Chi for RM52.3 million.
“It will bring a new positive perspective to Bandar Cassia,” he said.
He said Tzu Chi had first approached PDC on plans to build the centre in Batu Kawan in 2017.
“Bandar Cassia is the preferred choice for Tzu Chi to locate and establish an integrated development component to fulfill their mission of life-long learning for sustainable development,” he said.
He said the centre will benefit communities living in the surrounding area.
“From my understanding, an additional 30 acres is reserved for expansion and provision of more facilities in the future,” he added.
Tzu Chi, an international organisation from Taiwan, established its first branch in Malaysia in 1991.
Its active volunteerism has taken the lead in rendering long-term relief distribution, home visiting programme, emergency disaster relief, the setting-up of affiliated dialysis centres, home palliative care service and humanitarian services to the underprivileged.
Tzu Chi volunteers were often the first few responders to any disaster site to provide assistance including food and clothing for affected victims.
Society members helped provide refreshments for searchers of four Myanmar workers buried under rubble last night when a portion of a retaining wall collapsed at the Lost Paradise Hotel in Jalan Batu Ferringhi.