THE Federation of Hakka Associations of Malaysia now have a place to call their own with the establishment of its headquarters — the Wisma Hakka Malaysia, which is located off Jalan Ipoh, Selayang.
The RM7.5mil four-storey Wisma Hakka Malaysia building consists of a library, a hall, activity and meeting rooms.
It was launched by MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai on Saturday.
In his speech, he praised the Hakkas for their spirit to strive for success.
Also present at the ceremony were the federation’s founder Foo Wan Thot, president Datuk Yong Ah Pwi, lifetime honorary presidents Tan Sri Ng Teck Fong and Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah.
Among the guests were Chinese ambassador Dr Huang Huikang, Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah and Star Media Group Berhad (formerly known as Star Publications (M) Berhad) chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow.
A pre-launch welcome dinner was held on Friday at Vivatel Kuala Lumpur where a token of appreciation was given to 18 donors who donated more than RM100,000 for the construction of the headquarters.
Local and foreign Hakka associations such as one from Meixian, a district of Meizhou prefecture in Guangdong, China, also gifted calligraphy and art pieces to the federation.
There were also song and dance performances that night to showcase the Hakka culture.
Yong, who also attended the welcome dinner said, in his speech, that the federation was formed in 1978 and consisted of 78 Hakka associations nationwide.
According to census, 1.65 million of the 6.55 million Chinese in Malaysia are of Hakka descent, making up for one fourth of the Chinese population.
“We are a very active association, the youth and women divisions are two very important parts of the association, we often organise many activities.
“The idea for a headquarters came about five years ago. It not only provides space for our activities but the ground floor could be rented out,” he said.
International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong, who was also at the event, noted the contribution of the Hakkas to the society and Chinese education.
“The Chinese associations play an important role in the country’s economic development.
“China is Malaysia’s biggest trade partner. With the increasing good relationship between Malaysia and China in recent years, Chinese associations is one of the important factors in improving China-Malaysia relations.”