TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) believes in having a positive impact on the communities and countries in which it operates via corporate responsibility (CR) programmes.
Chairman Tan Sri Md Radzi Mansor said CR made good business sense in the long run as it contributed towards building lasting goodwill and trust in the TM brand.
“Our company policy clearly states that TM companies shall undertake a variety of programmes that are aligned with its business strategies or benefit the broader interests of the community, while complementing the Government’s efforts in nation building,” he told StarBiz before the demerger of TM and the listing of TM International Bhd.
He added that sustainability was an important element in TM’s community efforts and, therefore, emphasis was placed on acquisition of knowledge or skills.
The group spent RM75mil on CR activitieslast year and almost half of the sum went towards education via its foundation, Yayasan Telekom Malaysia (YTM).
Established in 1994 and having provided financial support valued at over RM350mil to more than 10,070 students, YTM disbursed over RM32mil in the form of scholarships and loans to 823 students last year.
According to Radzi, these scholarships and loans are awarded to students to follow academic programmes at preparatory, diploma, first degree and post-graduate levels in recognised local and overseas institutes of higher learning.
The financial support provided also included 700 needy secondary school students in government schools under YTM’s Minor Secondary School Scheme, which identifies deserving students for financial assistance to continue their studies up to SPM level.
Another TM effort is the Multimedia University (MMU), a tertiary education institution set up in 1997 by the telecommunications giant at a cost of more than RM800mil.
Today, the university has two campuses - in Malacca and Cyberjaya - with a current student enrolment of over 21,000.
“The MMU offers programmes and degrees in creative multimedia, information technology, management and engineering at the foundation and doctorate levels,” Radzi said.
To date, MMU has over 13,000 graduates with 96% of them gaining employment within six months of graduation.
MMU has also grown an outstanding pool of international students numbering 3,771 from 79 countries and has established 26 centres of excellence.
TM’s community efforts are also directed through sports as well as community and nation building.
In the sports arena, TM last year contributed up to RM17.33mil towards the sponsorship of several notable events, including Liga Malaysia, the Le Tour de Langkawi, Monsoon Cup, the JB International Challenge and the Mount Kinabalu Climbathon, among others.
TM also recognises that it has an important role to play at the community level as a whole and has involved itself in the graduate re-training programme and the well-known Pintar school adoption programme.
“Last year, we also kicked off a three-year broadband initiative with an allocation of RM2mil, where TM would provide local schools with broadband access, information technology applications and specialised training for students and teachers,” he said.
TM’s structured CR framework also covers the countries into which the group has expanded.
“We have CR programmes wherever we conduct our businesses,” Radzi added. Currently, the group has business operations and investments in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, India, Pakistan and Iran.
Its Sri Lanka arm, Dialog Telekom Plc, had organised a joint project with the country’s Education Ministry, known as Dialog’s Digital Learning Bridge, aimed at minimising differences in education standards between urban and rural areas.
Following the Asian tsunami in 2004, the company had developed a cost-effective, mass-alert system that can alert the general public in the event of a disaster.
The company that had set up an audiology centre for the hearing-impaired was also proposing to set up a hospital for disabled children in the city of Colombo.
PT Excelcomindo Pratama TBK, the group’s Indonesian arm, has been providing educational as well as community service by building kindergartens and schools in rural areas.
In terms of disaster relief, the company had provided free public telephones and Internet services for flood victims in Jakarta as well as free telecommunications services for earthquake survivors in Jogjakarta and Bengkulu.
As a result of the company’s efforts, it has been conferred the Indonesian Achievement Award under the category of Science, Technology, Education and Culture.