Volunteers just want to help people of Iraq


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 11 Mar 2003

By SHAHANAAZ HABIB

KUALA LUMPUR: K.V. Kumar’s wife has asked that he make sure all his insurance policies are in order before he heads off to Iraq to serve as a volunteer in the Mercy Malaysia mission. 

Kumar, a technical assistant at Telekom Malaysia Bhd, said his wife accepted the idea of him going to Iraq but wanted the beneficiary of the policies he took years ago to be converted to her name. 

The 40-year-old father of two, who has been actively involved in the local Red Crescent for the past 17 years, said he read about the Mercy Mission to Iraq in The Star and felt it was a great opportunity to put into practice his knowledge of helping people. 

He said despite the fact that volunteers would be stationed outside the main danger areas, friends and relatives continued to have fear of the threat of biological and chemical weapons that could possibly be used. 

“Some ask ‘why is this guy doing this?’ I have to convince them that I will be all right. I am doing this to help refugees and for my personal satisfaction,” Kumar said during a break at the training session for Mercy Malaysia volunteers at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) on Sunday. 

Forty non-medical volunteers and 23 medical volunteers attended the training session.  

Kumar who believed his employer would give him time off for the mission, still had to raise about RM2,700 for the air fare. 

Mercy Malaysia had asked volunteers to pay for their own passage as it required about RM2mil for the whole mission. 

Mercy Malaysia is a medical volunteer relief organisation set up in 1999 to provide medical and humanitarian relief.  

Its president Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood urged Government hospitals to give time off to their doctors who wanted to join the mission. 

As for funding, she hoped the 2.5 million Malaysians who had signed up during the Peace Malaysia signature campaign would donate to the mission. 

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Yong Chee Kuan said: “I think if I can’t stop the war, we must at least do something to help (victims). This is a just cause for humanity.”  

To former investment manager Aris Oziar, the Iraq mission would serve as an eye-opener in helping people displaced by war. 

“To me, money is not everything. I’ve got free time now so I might as well volunteer to go to Iraq.  

“Chances are I will not be able to experience this (helping displaced persons as a result of war) in Malaysia,” he said. 

Those interested can  

call 03-42569999 or 03-42702861 or visit the website www.mercy.org.my .  

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