Living up to motto of Negri school

Abu Hassan handing over a mock key for the bus to Education Ministry (residential schools management division) deputy director Dr Ruhaya Hassan. Also present are Abd Rasid (left) and SDAR principal Mohd Noor Hakimi Ismail (right).

FORMER students of Sekolah Dato’ Abdul Razak (SDAR) in Sungai Gadut near Seremban, Negri Sembilan, lived up to the motto of their alma mater “Berilmu Untuk Berjasa” (Knowledge to Serve) when they helped raise RM600,000 to buy a 44-seater bus for the residential school.

SDAR Alumni (SDARA) president Abd Rasid Jaapar said the idea to purchase the bus was conceived in November 2019 when a group of 30 former students from the Class of 1988, also known as SDARIANS88, met up to discuss preparations for the school’s annual dinner.

“It was customary that the batch which reached the age of 50 would host the dinner for that year and SDARIANS88 were due to run the show this year.

“During the meeting, one of the members, Ahmad Edham Abdul Wani Mohamed, proposed that their batch sponsor the dinner as opposed to the usual practice of selling tables.

“It was suggested that the collection from the sale of tables be used to buy something for the school,” Abd Rasid said, adding that the group estimated they could raise some RM150,000 from the event.

SDARIANS88 then proposed that the proceeds be used to buy a van for the school and they immediately strategised how to sell the idea to the rest of the alumni.

However, the group later learnt from the school’s Parent-Teacher Association president Zulkippli Haron, who also happened to be a member of SDARIANS88, that the school would benefit from a new bus instead of a van.

They then reorganised things and agreed to get a bus, which would cost RM525,000.

“The team went all out to contact SDARA members and the marketing strategy was revised as the amount had grown more than threefold,” Abd Rasid said, adding that a bus procurement committee was then set up, led by Ahmad Edham.

When the suggestion was forwarded to former students via social media, some proposed that the school approach the Education Ministry for a bus, some suggested that they buy a used one while others said they should get corporate sponsorship.

Abd Rasid said after it was decided that a new bus would be purchased, the committee got down to work despite the movement control order in place then.

“The SDAR Bus Crowdfunding Project was then launched, and a target was set for RM525,000 to be pledged or collected within three months.

“The SDARA annual dinner for 2020 had to be cancelled due to the MCO, so the committee reached out to those who had purchased tables and requested that the monies be converted for the SDAR Bus Fund,” he said.

The committee, he said, contacted as many SDARA members as they could including those living abroad.

One committee member, he recalled, had to brief a contributor while cycling around Putrajaya Lake in the federal territory.

“It was an arduous task to solicit money from people.

“After all the hard work, the pledges and collection totalled more than RM600,000 within three months,” he said, adding that a former teacher, current teachers and parents also contributed.

Abd Rasid said the committee did not seek corporate sponsorship as they believed they could raise the amount from members.

“‘Berilmu Untuk Berjasa’ is a value that all SDARians hold dear.

“SDAR had been a home for thousands of students, teachers and staff; our school motto has left a big impression on us regardless of the duration we studied there,” he said, adding that the extra cash would be partly spent on maintenance.

Abd Rasid said SDARA Foundation advisory council chairman Prof Datuk Seri Abu Hassan Asaari Abdullah officially handed over the bus to the Education Ministry in a simple ceremony in the presence of several alumni members.

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