Free food programme aims to lessen students’ burden


Students having drinks and food from the ‘Almari Kasih Sayang’ programme.

JOHOR BARU: Initially, first-year electrical engineering student Lim Jun Jie was quite reluctant to take food items from the “Almari Kasih Sayang” (AKS) programme.

“I was shy but eventually managed to overcome it by dragging a friend along,’’ he said when met at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Islamic Centre here.

The 20-year-old from Kluang, Johor said he found out about the programme from his coursemates.

Under the programme, students from the low-income group are given free food.

“I have been coming to the centre in the campus once a week since October last year to take food like nasi lemak,’’ he said.

Lim praised the initiative taken by the university to help students save on expenses.

Herman Keliban, 23, a student in the Faculty of Built Environment and Survey, said he learnt of the programme from the Islamic Centre’s portal late last year.

“Like Lim, I was also hesitant at first but along with some others am now helping myself to the items provided.

Sabahan Herman, who comes twice a week for a breakfast of nasi lemak or fried mee hoon, said the centre near the library was conveniently located.

UTM Islamic Centre director Assoc Prof Dr Aminuddin Ruskan said the AKS programme was introduced at the university’s main campus in Skudai in May last year.

He said this followed the success of a similar programme introduced at the mosque in UTM’s Kuala Lumpur campus in December 2017.

“The programme aims to lessen the burden of students pursuing their studies.

“Donors or well-wishers leave the food on the racks in the centre for students,’’ said Prof Aminuddin.

He said the programme was for everyone, irrespective of race and religion, adding that biscuits, instant noodles, mineral water, coffee and tea sachets could also be found here.

“We tell the students to take only what they need and to leave some for others,’’ he said.

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