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‘Donors’ using centres as dumping grounds

Thursday January 6, 2005

‘Donors’ using centres as dumping grounds

BY M. KRISHNAMOORTHY

SHAH ALAM: How would unwanted mementos like a trophy, a long-service certificate and a photo album help tsunami victims who have lost family members and homes? 

This thought crossed Rina Omar’s mind as she sorted out articles from heaps of plastic bags and boxes from so-called donors intent on spring-cleaning rather than making worthy contributions. 

In the guise of donations for the tsunami victims and grieving families, some “ugly Malaysians” are dumping their unwanted items at the collection centres. 

An executive at 8TV, 26-year-old Rina also found torn bras, discoloured panties, used lipstick, stained pillows, dirty diapers and a set of dentures. 

“This is utterly disgusting. Why are some Malaysians so heartless and cruel? 

“The unfortunate tsunami victims have lost their belongings, but it does not mean they have lost their dignity to live as human beings,” she said when met at the Mercy/ Nationwide Express collection centre here. 

MOSTLY JUNK: Rina (right) sorting out usable articles from a pile of donated items. Nationwide executive Zarina Mohd Razali (centre) holds a stack of call cards and volunteer Aida Ali a trophy.
Other throwaway items that had landed at the centre included watches that had stopped, exposed biscuit tins, dirty clothes and used stationery items like diaries, colour boxes, rulers, exercise books, and date and name stamps. 

Last week, Mercy Malaysia had appealed to the public not to look at the organisation as a dumping ground for unwanted items lying around the house. 

Rina said she had sacrificed her days off on Tuesday and yesterday to be with other volunteers at the centre.  

“How can Malaysians be merciless, callous and not caring for those who have lost not only their property, but also their loved ones?” asked Rina, who was at the centre with her sister Farah, 17.  

Nationwide freight forwarder head Allan K.H. Lee estimated that about 20% of the contributions had to be disposed off as they were not fit for human use and were in a terrible condition. 

He said the company had already shipped out more than 250 tonnes of clothes and food to Aceh. 

However, they are facing logistic problems in sending the items to Sri Lanka. 

Mercy Malaysia chief operating officer Shareen Shariza Datuk Abdul Ghani urged the public not to send any more clothes but to instead donate bottled water, high-nutrition biscuits, Vitamin C pills, canned food and can openers for the tsunami victims. 

“We need usable items. We can’t give them things that we ourselves won’t use,” she said. 

The public can send the items to the Nationwide Express office at Lot 6 and 7, Jalan Utas 15/7, Section 15, Shah Alam (or call 03-5512 1000, Ext 306 or 297). 

On Saturday, a jumble sale will be held at the centre and all proceeds will go towards helping the victims.  

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