KUALA LUMPUR: As a Muslim charity body, Pekida was set up based on Islamic principles but a rogue group wanting to make a name has becoming the biggest hurdle to its cause.
Both use similar logos and the group, calling itself Tiga Line and whose members claim to be from Pekida, was one of 49 deemed illegal last year under the Secret Societies Act.
"We are judged unfairly as people choose to label us gangsters when we have no links whatsoever with the underworld.
"Despite our direct involvement with various charity programmes, people still mistake us for Tiga Line, which was set up by people who claimed to be part of us," Federal Territories Pekida chief Datuk Roslan Dahaman (pic) told The Star Online at a recent interview here.
Pekida, or Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Dakwah Islamiah Se-Malaysia, was founded in the 1970s and stresses on the importance of charity and Islamic teachings.
Roslan denounced the gangster group and accused them of using Pekida's name to justify its acts.
According to him, the gangster outfit might have been founded by some of Pekida's 50,000 registered members, but this he said, was beyond his control.
"I can't be monitoring the movement of each and everyone of them. There may be lawbreakers but I can't be responsible for what they do. That is not what we taught them to be," he said.
Roslan, who is fondly known as "Ayahanda Lan Gajah", said Pekida is a legit body as it is registered with the Registrar of Societies and claimed that it had never had any run-ins with the authorities.
"Sometimes, we even help the police in small cases such as finding a missing person, but people do not see our good side as they are too engrossed with labelling us gangsters," he said.
Roslan, 60, said he would be the first to turn in members to the police if they were found breaking the law.
"I will personally send these kids to the police if they break the law. A law is a law and no one is above it. We don't want them to tarnish our image," he said.
He added that it was not easy to become leaders in Pekida as they were chosen based not only on academic qualifications but also religious background.
"They need the basics at least - how to read the Quran - and pray five times a day. They also need to have a strong religious background," he said.
Roslan added that Pekida was wrongly portrayed to the people, especially through Malay blockbuster movie KL Gangster which purportedly depicted Pekida's way of life.
The movie directed by Shamsul Yusof, the son of renowned and veteran director Yusof Haslam, was slammed by Pekida for putting the group in bad light.
Roslan said they had to clear their name as the movie used Pekida's terms "Ayahanda" and "Abang Long" - loosely translated as Godfather and Big Brother respectively – when gang chiefs were addressed.
"We used the term because we consider ourselves to be in one big family, and found it strange that the movie had to use the same terms," he said.
Shamsul has since apologised to Pekida, saying it was mere coincidence and that he had no intention of offending the group.