KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook today paid tribute to Buddhist groups for stepping up to help fellow Malaysians in need without regard for colour or creed.

He said their contributions over the past two years had been timely, noting the dire situation that faced many communities across the length and breadth of the country were hit by a series of disasters, starting with the Covid-19 pandemic followed by floods.

“Buddhists groups and associations were at the forefront of serving our communities when Covid-19 raged across the country. 

“From helping the poor with food aids, organising medical support for patients, to organising vaccination campaigns, the contributions by Buddhist’s groups are really impactful,” he said in his Wesak Day message.

The Seremban MP recalled the December floods that hit a few areas in Negri Sembilan last December and said attributed the successful rescue of stranded and displaced residents on the swift aid provided by Buddhist groups, whom he noted were driven by compassion as one of the precepts of their faith.

“The journey battling Covid 19 over the last two years has been tough and the experience bitter. However, to witness various NGOs and self-organised individuals stepping forward and extending help to fellow Malaysians in need  —  driven by compassion and purpose  —  is indeed a touching experience for me,” he said.

Loke said the DAP could learn from these Buddhist groups on how to collaborate with others, setting aside their differences and work for the common good.

He also urged the government to collaborate with the Buddhist NGOs in its efforts to address climate change and its effects on vulnerable communities.

“We are facing unprecedented challenge in climate change that calls for collective action. 

“We have to pay more attention to vulnerable communities living in low lying areas, mostly comprising of poorer income households,” he said.

He added that religious institutions can be roped in to play a pivotal role in inspiring the populace to do their part.

Loke noted that Wesak Day celebrations in Malaysia had been muted the past two years due to public health measures set by the government to halt the spread of Covid-19 and expressed his thankfulness that adherents are finally able to gather and conduct their worship openly at temples nationwide this year.

“As we commemorate the 60th anniversary of Wesak Day as a national public holiday, I hope the development of Buddhism in Malaysia will grow stronger,” he said.